Bi-Cultural Day School was caught up in a frenzy of community service last month, when students engaged in the school’s second annual “Mitzvah Mania.”
For one full day in May, preschoolers through eighth-graders fanned out into the community to perform much needed mitzvot. It seemed as if students were everywhere: entertaining residents at Atria Senior Living; packing food and toiletries for residents of Inspirica and Pacific House Shelters; preparing meals for Schoke Jewish Family Service clients; baking challah for Chabad of Stamford’s Loaves of Love program; stocking shelves at the Fairfield County Food Bin; and more. Even the school’s eighth-graders, still on their Israel Experience trip, packed food donations for an Israeli food pantry.
“We strongly believe that going out into the community and working with our hands and our hearts to improve the lives of our neighbors is truly what tikun olam is all about,” said Head of School Jackie Herman.
By the end of the “Mitzvah Mania” day, many of the students understood that when you give a part of yourself, you get something back.
“It was fun meeting Anne,” said fifth-grader Jack Jaffe of his time spent chatting with a 93-year-old resident of Sunrise Senior Living. “She was nice and gave us advice and told us many stories about her life. She told us she was ‘shedding wisdom.’”
Jack was so moved by the experience that, accompanied by a few friends, he returned the following week.
“I wanted to go back because I thought it would be nice for her. She told us that she loved talking to kids and didn’t get to do that often. She touched me.”
Besides, he says, “I think that the seniors have a lot to teach us and we can learn a lot from them.”
His mother couldn’t help but ‘qvell.’
“As a parent you aim to foster a sense of humanity and empathy in your children,” says Jack’s mother, Terri Jaffe. “When my son jumped into my car overjoyed by the happiness he and his friends had brought to the seniors that they visited, I realized that he was well on his way. Bi-Cultural Day School provides the most unbelievable opportunities for our kids to become mensches.”
CAP: Anne, a 93-year-old resident of Sunrise Senior Living, enjoys ‘shedding’ her wisdom with (l to r) Bi-Cultural fifth-graders Ayden Riker, Travis Fuchs, Jack Jaffe and Richard Baer, who were visiting the residence as part of the Stamford school’s “Mitzvah Mania” day.