Repair the world

A superhero inspires a bar mitzvah project.

Book cover

Max’s superhero, El Pitlum Rossicles, inspired by his dad Marc, who has MS.

When 13-year-old Max Melamed had to come up with a philanthropic project for his bar mitzvah, it didn’t take him long. His idea would perfectly—and almost literally—embody the concept of “tikkun olam,” Hebrew for “repair the world,” a key part of bar and bat mitzvah rituals.

He figured he could combine two of his favorite things: writing action stories and his father, Marc Melamed, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. “I always thought my dad was kind of super,” Max says. “So I decided to write a story that made him a superhero because superheroes fix the world.”

Max set out to write and illustrate a book. He would sell copies and donate the proceeds to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For Max, “it would be taking a small step that could be a giant leap toward curing MS.”

Thus was born “Who is El Pitlum Rossicles? A story of grit and perseverance,” which chronicles the thrilling adventures of our mysterious superhero—who looks suspiciously like Max’s dad—as he saves the day with the help of his special pogo stick cane.

Max has sold more than 35 books and raised more than $1,000 for the Society.

Max and Marc live in Michigan with Max’s mom, Becky, and his younger brother, Ari. Though Max thinks he might like to write action stories on the side, he wants to be a sports medicine doctor.

Oh. Have you figured out what that name El Pitlum Rossicles means yet?

It’s an anagram for “multiple sclerosis.”

Winter 2018-19
To learn more about Max’s project and to get a copy of his book, visit his Do It Yourself fundraising page at or email elpitlumbook@gmail.com.