After hearing about the tragedies, six-year-old Ayel Morgenstern decided to spread a little kindness to “make the whole world feel better”
After watching a news story about vandalized tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis in February, Lauren Pearl Morgenstern, noticed something familiar. A name on one of the tombstones — Pearl — is also her maiden name. Morgenstern — who is originally from St. Louis, but now lives in Florida — later learned that the tombstone belonged to her great-grandmother, Rebecca Pearl.
When her six-year-old daughter, Ayel, learned about the vandalism, she realized the world needed some more love and kindness. So as a mitzvah – which is a Hebrew word that means “a good deed” – she decided to hand-paint rocks to uplift the families of those affected by the tragedies.
“Ayal is an old soul, who is wise beyond her years,” Morgenstern told Scary Mommy in an email. “She knows in the Jewish religion you place a rock on a tombstone when you visit a cemetery. She specifically said she wanted to paint ladybugs for good luck and hearts for just a little more love because she wants to make the whole world feel better.”
In the past six weeks, Ayel has painted at least 500 rocks. Thanks to the power of social media, Morgenstern was able to contact the families affected by the cemetery vandalism to send them hand-painted rocks.
“Kindness matters,” Ayel told Scary Mommy. “It is inspirational, it is powerful, and you should live like that.”
In addition to sending rocks to cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester, where vandalism has occurred, she has also mailed rocks to the family of Adam Krief, a man from Los Angeles who lost his life to a rare form of cancer, and the family of Kurt Cochran, a man from Salt Lake City who died in the London terror attack. Ayel is also painting rocks for Sacred Heart University, where a college student recently died after choking during a pancake eating contest; Mount Pleasant High School in Texas, which is mourning the death of its track coach in a bus crash; and a young girl in Florida who recently lost both of her parents. With each box of rocks, Ayel also includes a special handwritten note that ends with the words “Kindness Matters.”
The response to Ayel’s hand-painted rocks has been amazingly positive, Morgenstern said. “At the end of the day, it took a 6-year-old little girl to enlighten the world and to make others realize kindness can go a long way in life,” she told Scary Mommy. “Physically Ayel looks up to us as parents. In reality, however, we look up to her.”
Morgenstern described her daughter as a leader with an infectious personality who wants to make a difference in the world. She’s been painting on canvas since she was 18-months-old, and someday she wants to be a doctor or scientist because she “wants to help people.”
Ayel’s biggest fan just might be her 3-year-old little brother, Avi, who has helped paint a rock or two. Morgenstern said Ayel is a great role model for Avi, who wants to do everything his big sister does.
Kudos to young Ayel for showing the world how to spread kindness and love. While many adults are wringing their hands or pointing fingers, she’s doing what she can, in the best way she can, to making things a little better.
“At the end of the day, Ayel is trying to make a difference in the world one step (or in this case one hand painted rock) at a time.”