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A Bid to Honor a Sibling — and the Hospital That Helped Her

February 20, 2013 By:
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Julia (left) and twin Remi help big sis Abby revel in the hefty sum raised at Abby's Auction to benefit the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Mitzvah Hero: Abby Rosenthal, 13, a 7th grade honors student at Wissahickon Middle School, has a winning case of sibling revelry. She's so proud of  sister Julia, 10 — a cancer survivor whose struggles started at age 20 months when she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor — she has dedicated herself to doing mitzvot for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the facility that helped Julia come through the many trials and tribulations of treatment.

What She Does for Love: This member of the Zion Class and Yad Squad at Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell has a squad of her own — namely Mom Pamela and Dad Steven as well as sis Remi (Julia's twin) — helping plan and perpetuate Abby’s Auction. The auction, a bid for good health and care of CHOP kids, was held late last year and raised $3,000 — including about $300 of Abby’s Bat Mitzvah money — for the hospital.

Not a One-Time Thing: “I plan on doing this auction again so that I can continue the obligations of a mitzvah and tikkun olam,” says the Blue Bell resident. Not that it was all that easy: “We had to ask strangers for donations, which was a little scary at first but I learned  how to improve eye contact.” Some of those donors faced up to their own sense of tzedakah: “Many wrote out checks to CHOP and did not want to receive” a gift in exchange.

Good for Her: Despite initial roadblocks — at first some area merchants were resistant to donate items to the auction — Abby persisted, landing big businesses in the process, including the local Giant supermarket and Costco department store. Her drive netted 53 items for the auction (including a Movado watch), and Abby then spent time organizing a showcase for prospective bidders  at a TBI Shabbat barbecue and also went online to exhibit the wares.

This Mitzvah Hero’s Hero: Obviously, Julia was the inspiration for the auction, and CHOP gets nothing but praise from all the Rosenthals. And what does Julia have to say about all this? “She is a great older sister —usually,” she kids. “She’s also a hero to me because she is helping kids who are sick” through the auction. And Remi, Julia’s twin? CHOP “totally deserves the money,” she says, and Abby is “very kind, smart and caring.” And all the Rosenthals are happy to call Julia cancer-free.

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