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From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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Bar mitzvah project helps Haiti earthquake victims

Money raised will pay for medical supplies for their treatment

Moshe Frier, 12, of Hollywood, performs his check trick during a magic show put on by Moshe and his father, Avi Frier, where all the proceeds go to pay for medical supplies for Haiti.      (Eric Bojanowski, FPG / Feb. 14, 2010)

By David A. Schwartz, Staff Writer

Moshe Frier lifted the sheet from the huge blank check on the stage and $3,002 for medical supplies for Haiti magically appeared. The 12-year-old from Emerald Hills hopes the money and more raised during an evening of magic on Feb. 14 will make some of the suffering in Haiti disappear.

Frier said he got the idea for the show Prestidigitation for Haitian Salvation, watched by an audience of about 150 people at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center, after deciding a few weeks ago to donate a portion of the money he will receive from his bar mitzvah on Saturday to Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale.

The hospital will purchase medications and medical supplies for the medical missions its doctors are making to Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake six weeks ago.

Moshe's father, professional magician Avi Frier, helped his son to produce the show. And he performed, along with mentalist Guy Bavli and emcee Marc Levine.

Avi Frier said he was especially proud of the way Moshe performed the check trick. "The secret move was done so well I didn't even catch him doing it," he said.

Parents try to instill the right values in their children so that they can think of projects like this one on their own," he added. "This is one of those times when it happened."

Rabbi Avram Skurowitz, head of school at Brauser Maimonides Academy in Fort Lauderdale where Moshe is in the 7th grade, said his student shows initiative in implementing the lessons his parents and school have tried to instill. Usually middle school kids are interested in other things than helping people. It's very heartwarming to see."

"It's a wonderful way to prepare and celebrate his bar mitzvah," Rabbi Yosef Weinstock, assistant rabbi at Young Israel of Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, said about the magic show. "It's rare to have empathy at a young age and take it to the next level."

Dr. Elie Shochet, a surgeon at Holy Cross Hospital and friend of the Frier family, said he told them about the need for money to purchase medical supplies for trips to Haiti like the one Shochet made with a medical team in late January. "For a 12-year-old to have the kind of commitment and wherewithal to see it through is terrific," Shochet said.

From the number of phone calls from donors that he and the hospital have received, Avi Frier said he and Moshe hope to raise a total of more than $5,000 from the magic show.

"I hope it actually gets some people saved," Moshe said, "and people can go to hospitals here like Holy Cross."

Copyright © 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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