Boxes of canned goods, coats, toys, and books. Lemonade stands and cookie sales. Fresh-food drives. Letter-writing campaigns. Posters announcing student-led tzedakah (charity) programs. All of these adorn our lobby and hallways, and are featured prominently throughout the school year. These
tangible acts of hesed (kindness) reflect Schechter’s core values, which are integrated into our students’ educational journey – in and out of the classroom – through age-appropriate literature, text study, projects, and discussions. Hesed also plays a key role in the bar/bat mitzvah experience, during which each student is guided to choose a personally meaningful cause, or a social justice project.
A big idea often starts with something small – For Eliana, a Schechter Middle School student, it comes in the form of hundreds of tiny hand-sewn tiny caps for acutely ill newborns in the 40-bed perinatal center of Hackensack University Medical Center. She decided to put her passion for sewing to work to help keep these high-risk babies warm and comfortable. “It feels good to do something good for these little ones, and for their parents, who probably need a reason to keep smiling,” she says. “I am going to keep sewing until the people at the hospital tell me to stop!”