July 13, 2024
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July 13, 2024
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Hearts and Hoops at Yavneh Academy

Yavneh Academy students celebrated Lag B’Omer in school while learning an impor­tant lesson in chesed. Lag B’Omer is tradition­ally a festive day on which children engage in outdoor activities or sports. But it is also a day when we celebrate the importance of “Love your neighbor as yourself.” On this day, we com­memorate the importance of respecting and caring for others, as we then end the mourning period for Rabbi Akiva’s students who “did not treat each other with respect,” (Yevamot, 62b).

In that spirit, Yavneh Academy combined the fun and the caring for others by running a Hearts and Hoops Hoopathon in school. Each child had the opportunity to shoot baskets to raise funds for Project Ezrah, an organization that ensures that we care for all our “neighbors” by providing financial and emotional support in times of need.

This hoopathon began as a project of the 7th grade, whose advisory curriculum’s theme is “Prepare Yourself to Change the World,” Dr. Ali­za Frohlich explains. This idea for a hoopathon came from the real-life story of Austin Gutwein who created an organization called Hoops of Hope when he was a pre-teen. He has since raised millions of dollars for the underprivi­leged. Austin’s motto is, “Do something bigger than yourself.”

“When we ask our students to think about the plight of others and empathize, we teach them, in essence, that there are things out there that are ‘bigger’ than they are. As Yavneh’s 7th graders helped run the hoopathon we know that they put into practice the idea of thinking of others, not just focusing on them­selves.” Students were shown a video about Project Ezrah at the start of the hoopathon, so that they could comprehend how Project Ez­rah is truly an organization that assists so many in our community.

Over 1800 baskets were made and the stu­dents raised $2,441 for Project Ezrah. Funds raised were dedicated in memory of Rabbi Yos­sie Stern, z”l, who founded and directed Project Ezrah and was a former Yavneh parent.

Students ended the day of fun a bit ex­hausted, but also feeling a sense of satisfac­tion that they made a difference in the lives of others, and “did something bigger” than them­selves.

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