6-year-old honored for painting rocks for vandalized Jewish graves

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A young girl has been honored for her effort to spread kindness after hundreds of graves in a Jewish cemetery were vandalized.

At only 6 years old, Ayel Morgenstern is already trying to make the world a better place. “Kindness matters. It is inspirational, it is powerful, and you should live like that,” she said.

Ayel works to spread kindness by painting lady bugs and hearts to be placed on vandalized Jewish graves. In Jewish custom, placing a stone at a gravesite is considered a sign of respect.

Ayel has painted close to 500 rocks.

She was inspired after seeing hundreds of gravestones, including her great-great-grandmother’s, vandalized in a St. Louis cemetery, back in February.

“There was some bad people that knocked down the tombstones at the cemetery, so I wanted to make the whole world feel better, so I painted lady bugs and hearts,” Ayel said in a video. “The lady bugs are for good luck, and the hearts are for just a little bit more luck.”

“We had to paint one side and then let it dry, and then we painted the other side the other day,” Ayel said describing the process.

Decorating each rock took about four days. Upon completion, they sent the rocks to students in St. Louis so they could place them on the damaged tombstones.

Ayel was happy to do the labor intensive process because, as she said, it’s all about kindness. “It’s not just anti-Semitic things,” said Lauren Morgenstern, Ayel’s mother. “It goes in such a broader direction: just be kind in the world.”

Ayel’s efforts got both national attention and recognition at home. Broward County commissioners honored Ayel, Tuesday.

“Whereas, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, Florida, that the board hereby designates Tuesday, May 2, 2017, as Ayel Morgenstern Day in Broward County, Florida, with special appreciation for the creativity and talent behind this very special mitzvah carried out by such a young girl,” said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine.

“I look at her all the time, and I think here’s a little girl who has brought so much inspiration to the world and to us as parents, she physically looks up to us, but we actually look up to her because she is truly an inspiration,” said Ayel’s mother.

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