Fanwood—Seventh grade Terrill Middle School student and Temple Sholom (Fanwood/Scotch Plains) member Aaron Arkin is raising money to plant trees in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest in preparation to become a bar mitzvah.As part of becoming a bar or bat mitzvah (one who is responsible for the commandments of Judaism), students at Temple Sholom are required to create a mitzvah project to show that they realize their personal responsibility to make the world a better place. So far, Arkin has raised nearly $1,000 toward his goal of $1,500 for the Plant a Billion Foundation.Trees planted by the foundation provide oxygen and produce products such as wood and fruits that can provide a profit for local farmers. In addition, these trees help support the Brazilian ecosystem.

“I believe that the environment is one of the most important components to the survival and well-being of the world,” said Arkin, whose father, Jeffrey Arkin, helped him create a website where people can easily donate, Arkin will become a bar mitzvah on Jan. 28.Founded in 1913,

Temple Sholom is a Reform Jewish Congregation led by Rabbi Joel N. Abraham. The Temple and its religious school is home to about 250 families from the greater Scotch Plains-Fanwood area. Currently residing within the Fanwood Presbyterian Church, the Temple has purchased five acres of land in Scotch Plains for its future home. Temple Sholom is a member of the Union of Reform Judaism. For more information about the Temple or joining the congregation, please call 908-889-4900, email or visit