What you do:
I am a sophomore at the Ramaz High School. The volunteer projects I am most passionate about are hosting an interactive cooking show on KidsZone TV at Mt. Sinai hospital and organizing a hair drive (@cuttingitwithcaleb) encouraging adults and kids alike to donate their hair to children with cancer.
Unexpected fun fact:
I play the electric cello and have performed at Carnegie Hall.
Quote you live by:
“The fridge is a perfect example that what matters most is on the inside.”
How does your Jewish identity/Jewish values influence the work that you do?
The Jewish value of tzedakah (charity) influences all of the work I do — but not through the lens of giving in a monetary sense. It’s the giving of oneself that is paramount to me. When I give my time to create a show that brings joy to a pediatric patient, or give the hair off my head to make a wig for a child with cancer, the giving is pure and it is directly from my heart. When you are in a position to give of yourself — time and energy, heart and soul, you can be transformative.
What do you consider unique or innovative about what you do?
On “Cooking with Caleb,” every show is completely different — and that’s not just because we make a different recipe on every show! It is because of the super-cool interactive element happening in real time: the pediatric patients are able to call in from their rooms and give me a taste test challenge. The kids have so much fun coming up with their concoctions, and I eat every single one. But what’s truly innovative about the cooking show is that it gives me an opportunity to interact with patients in the hospital without having to wait until I am 18. Since patients call from their rooms, I can hang out and connect with them —and hopefully make them laugh — while keeping them safe.
What was the best advice you received?
“Work hard and be nice to people.” These are words to live by. In fact, we have this phrase framed on the wall in our apartment. When it’s a day where I’ve worked hard and I’ve shown kindness, that day is a good one.
Follow me: cuttingitwithcaleb.com, @cuttingitwithcaleb