2008-03-26 / Local News


Teenage enthusiast gives heart & 'Soul'
By DAVID PORTNOE Voice staff

NAME: Jonathan Silverstone
AGE: 14
FAMILY: Parents Debbie and Howard;
sister Emma (10);
and brother Alec (10).
PET: Dusty the Cat
of Courage
FAVORITE FOOD: Buffalo Wings
HOBBIES: Bass Guitar,
Video Games, Soccer

Jonathan Silverstone had an amazing day earlier this month. Not only did he get to attend the home opener of the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul at the Wachovia Center; he also got to hang with Jon Bon Jovi, co-owner of the Soul and the lead singer of one of his favorite bands.

That would have been enough, but Silverstone's special day brought more: He got to meet a mother and son about to move into their new Philadelphia home with the aid of his donation to the Soul Foundation's Project H.O.M.E. The teenager had given $750 of his bar mitzvah money to Project H.O.M.E.- the very first donation received by the newlyestablished Soul Foundation.

"When the mom shook my hands with that look on her face; I could tell that she was grateful," said Silverstone, a lanky, soft-spoken 14-year-old who is already over six feet tall. The diminutive Jon Bon Jovi even joked about his height as he thanked Silverstone for his contribution.

"He's a really nice man, and I was thrilled to meet him," Silverstone said, recalling that he told Bon Jovi he hoped to do even more for Project H.O.M.E.

Why did the youngster select Project H.O.M.E. to receive a share of his bar mitzvah money? Because its focus was on building affordable housing in Philadelphia. "The best thing you can do for a charitable cause is to contribute to something local and see with your own eyes what you've done," he said.

A student in Temple Beth Sholom's high school program and a member of BBYO's Woodcrest AZA chapter, Silverstone is active in a variety of charitable work, and credits both TBS and his parents for his involvement in tzedakah at an early age.

As an eight-year-old, he gave money to the NYPD-FDNY after 9/11. Today he says that giving of one's self is as important as giving money, and he volunteers at the Jewish Federation's annual Super Sunday and visits nursing homes with fellow Temple Beth Sholom students. "It makes me feel great," he said..

A self defined politics junky and "humongous Hillary Clinton supporter," Silverstone said that the Clinton campaign has had him make phone calls on her behalf to primary voters in Wisconsin and Rhode Island.

President of the freshman class at Cherry Hill East, he admits to seeing politics in his future and says that his long-term goals include election to House or Senate. .

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