Yosef Yitzchak Handler, a member of Friendship Circle of Brooklyn, writes how he always wanted to join the Chidon, and what happened this year that made it possible.
My name is Yosef Yitzchak Handler. I am eighteen years old, and I go to a special yeshiva called Bonim Lamokom. I like to play soccer and listen to Jewish music.
Two years ago after Chanukah, Friendship Circle called my parents. They said that the boy who I met at the Chanukah event wanted to come and play with me! His name was Levi.
Levi started to come to my house. He was a very good friend. I liked playing and talking with him.
One day, we talked about Chidon. Chidon is very special to me, because I watch lots of Chidon videos on thechidon.com, and I really like the Chidon song. But I didn’t think I could ever be a part of it.
Levi said, “Let’s do this together!”
I was so excited. I knew that I had to learn all the mitzvos and that it would be hard, but I still wanted to do it. I wanted to get the Chidon yarmulke and sweater and plaque and medal. I even wanted the trophy! I wanted to go on the trips and the Shabbaton.
Levi learned with me. We worked very hard. I studied every single day. I read the Yahadus book and used the Chidon Kop cards.
I took all of the tests. I knew that I was going to get a good grade, and I did! I felt like a real Chidon boy! I was so excited and happy. I thanked Hashem for everything.
On the day of the big trip, I went to the [Jewish Children’s] Museum and I got my sweater and prizes. Then I went to 770 with all of the Chidon boys. It was so special! Davening together made me feel strong.
Then, we went to the Eli Marcus and Benny Friedman concert. It was a real concert, and I was on the live video! I was famous!
Then we went on the trips. It was so fun! I met a boy who was a friend to me. It was his first time at Chidon, too. We went bowling and played at the waterpark together. All of the slides were so much fun, especially the high ones! I liked the wave pool, too.
I also met other friends from our family’s shul. They were so proud to see me on the Chidon trips. I loved every part of the day!
Chidon is one of the best things in the world. I want to tell all boys like me that they can also join Chidon. And I hope that they do!
I will tell them: “You can learn Torah like other kids. You can earn prizes and go on amazing trips. You can feel the special chayus that Chidon kids have.”
When friends come to my house, I teach them things from the Yahadus books. I say Divrei Torah at the Shabbos table about what I learned.
Next year, I’m doing Yahadus Book 2. I want more kids from my school to do it, too. I will talk to my whole class about it. They should join!
I had a great time, and I will not stop here. I think that I can be a Kol Hatorah Kulah kid, and get that plaque. It will take 5 years, but I am going to do it.
Note from Yosef’s parents:
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank Chidon for making this possible for Yosef. It means the world to us.
We are so proud of each and every child participating in Chidon, and look forward to continued growth. Every Child, Every Mitzvah!
Tzivos Hashem is running a campaign right now! On behalf of Yosef and other children like him, please partner with them in their vital work.
They are truly making a difference in children’s lives, and YOU can be a part of that difference! Every dollar counts. Donate generously at www.growthearmy.com