G'milut chasadim, acts of loving kindness, and tikkun olam, repair of the world, are two Jewish values playing out predominantly in this year’s religious studies classes.
Our 5th and 6th graders were challenged by Morah Susan Rees to develop a tzedakah (literally justice in Hebrew though often referred to as charity) project. They chose to adopt 29 Jewish families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey and send them gifts of care and comfort over the course of the school year.
The first gifts – fleece blankets and pillows our students knotted together – arrived in Houston in plenty of time for Hanukkah. Our students’ thoughtfulness extended to researching the favorite colors of the children from the families and having their names stitched into a corner of their blankets.
This project has grown into a school-wide affair: Our preschool families chipped in to buy boxes of Hanukkah candles for the Houston families, which all our students dipped in various colors of wax.
It has grown into a synagogue-wide affair: Parents and DuSTY teens helped cut the blankets, tie knots and supervise the candle-dipping. Congregants and the students' relatives donated more than $2,000 to help cover costs.
It has even reached into the Twin Ports community: Halvor Lines transported the blankets for free on one of their trucks bound for Houston.
And it has fully blossomed down at Temple Sinai synagogue where those families received their new blankets and pillows, along with some Hanukkiyah and even a tallit, lovingly donated from our congregants.