On Monday, November 1st, the Hebrew Academy High School hosted a blood drive as well as its annual Chesed Fair, both with a common theme of kindness. The Chesed fair is an annual event bringing representatives of multiple non-profit organizations to campus to encourage students to do community service for them. The simultaneous events of the blood drive and the Chesed fair demonstrated the importance of giving back to the community by putting in time and effort.
“There are different types of community service. What I think of first are programs like Chai Lifeline and Friendship Circle. These organizations help so many people and really bring communities together. Community service is really important to me, I feel it's a great way to really give back and make a difference in people's lives,” said Chana Steifel (10th).
Organizations that came to participate in the Hebrew Academy chesed fair include Chai Lifeline, Stand-With-Us, Friendship Circle, Wizo, NCSY, FIDF, Sharsheret, and the Bal Harbor Legacy Foundation. Each organization had a table with pamphlets and sign up sheets. Friendship Circle is usually especially popular within the high school student body, with many students consistently signing up each year.
“Friendship Circle means a lot to me because my brother has special needs, and he loves Friendship Circle because it makes him happy,” said Zach Shuster (9th). “Volunteering means a lot to me because spending time with these kids is very close to my heart, and I enjoy it.”
To add on to the kindness-filled atmosphere of the day, the Hebrew Academy hosted a blood drive. Students who were 16 and older had the opportunity to donate their blood.
It’s a really good opportunity to help my community and someone who could really use it and save their life. I’m really happy to do it. I do it every year,” said Brielle Katz (12th).
Chesed day is one that reflects the significance of kindness and community service while being a student in the Hebrew Academy. Giving up one’s time and effort is not a completely separate concept from education, but rather, the two coincide.
“Chesed is core to a Jewish education. Ultimately, Hashem created every person not perfect. In that imperfection, the way that we become perfect is to help others. By helping others, we are fulfilling a greater purpose. We get to make a difference in this world,” said Dr. Jones, High School Principal. “And, while, of course we can learn tremendous things from books, sepharim, and teachers, the learning that happens when you are actually making someone’s life better, I think, can overshadow any other kind of learning.”
By: Kayla Herssein (11th) and Riley Spitz (9th)