Schechter students like to ask questions. Sometimes, the questions are factual, like “who signed the Declaration of Independence?” Sometimes, the questions involve the synthesis of ideas, like “what would happen if I mix these two chemicals together?” Sometimes, the questions are evaluative, like “what did you think of this project?”  And sometimes, the questions are the beginning of a relationship.

These kinds of questions were brought to the Stone Gardens Assisted Living Facility by our seventh graders. Each of them paired up with a resident and started asking questions about careers, family, and personal likes and dislikes. And, of course, the residents started asking questions back. There were smiles on the faces of the residents and pride coming from our students as they confidently interacted, even in the face of residents’ complications like hearing and memory loss. They treated each resident with incredible kindness and compassion.

Eventually, the pairs took turns introducing each other to the larger group based upon the conversation. It truly was a magical moment made possible by the power of our students’ inquisitive and empathetic minds. Our students demonstrated great interest in the residents and vice versa creating joy for both groups.

This year, thanks to a special two-year grant from the Legacy Heritage Foundation, we have expanded our partnership with Menorah Park and are deepening our commitment to Tikun Olam (repairing the world). Teaching the value and importance of Tikun Olam is an integral part of the curriculum at Gross Schechter Day School. We stress the importance of giving back to our community, both as Jews and citizens. Throughout the year, we will be visiting Stone Gardens and residents will be traveling to Schechter for special programs like eating in the sukkah and marking Veteran’s Day. Our classrooms will feature discussions on aging and text study of the mitzvot that encourage us to make the world a better place, as well as opportunities for reflection on their interactions with the residents. Our students are learning the importance of honoring the elderly and bikur cholim through action and study.

Sometimes things truly are better together.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School

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