May 26, 2024
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BPY Celebrates Lag B’Omer With Day of Chesed

Last week, on Lag B’Omer, Ben Porat Yosef students in grades one through eight participated in a variety of chesed activities as part of a special program sponsored by Rabbi Chaim and Dr. Shoshana Poupko in loving memory of their daughter, Chana, a”h. Chana’s older sisters, Ayelet and Elana, attend BPY.

“Through the entire ordeal with Chana, we were the recipients of so much chesed—big actions and small—in the long term and short term,” said Dr. Poupko. “The people who supported us and our children were invaluable, and we wanted to give back by providing a venue to do chesed in ways that connect different people, organizations and models of chesed. BPY was a nurturing and comforting place for our daughters Ayelet and Elana, and it continues to be, so we could think of no better place to help orchestrate this day of chesed than BPY.”

Students participated in unique projects, among them: making cards to thank the police officers of the Paramus PD and then visiting the officers to personally distribute the cards (first grade); creating a garden in the front of the school to beautify the grounds (third grade); assembling special Shabbat packages to include with Tomchei Shabbat food parcels for recipients (fourth grade); training with Friendship Circle staff in order to be able to volunteer with children with special needs (sixth grade); packing food for distribution at the Community Food Bank of NJ (seventh grade); packing clothes for Yad Leah, for shipment to Israel (eighth grade), to name a few.

Rosie Moche, a second grade student, visited the Daughters of Miriam Center in Clifton, a home for seniors, with her classmates. The students made artwork with the residents and sang for them. “It made me feel good to see the smiles on their faces when my friends and I sang for them,” said Moche.

Morah Syma Gilder, who teaches fifth grade and has Ayelet Poupko as one of her students, oversaw the fifth grade chesed activity, in which students packed activity bags and decorated them before donating them to young patients at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, at Hackensack University Medical Center. “The entire day was just a beautiful tribute to a beautiful family,” said Gilder.

“The Chana Poupko, a”h, Chesed Day at BPY is a beautiful, lasting lesson and tribute,” said Rabbi Saul Zucker, head of school. “On Lag B’Omer, when the idea of altruism and concern for others highlights the theme surrounding the story of Rabbi Akiva’s students, our own family of students demonstrated the heart and soul, the joy and inspiration of chesed for others. This is a poignant memorial for Chana Poupko, a”h, an amazing testament to the tireless and selfless giving of Rabbi Chaim and Dr. Shoshana Poupko and their family, and a lifelong model for our students to follow.”

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