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Jewish Home Hosts Innovative Intergenerational Bat Mitzvah Program

On Wednesday evening, February 17, the Jewish Home at Rockleigh hosted a unique bat mitzvah education program called, “One Generation Tells Another: An Interactive Conversation About Meaningful Jewish Living.”

The program was the brainchild of Rebbetzin Chani Krohn of the Young Israel of Teaneck. “It was wonderful and we are so thankful that the Jewish Home welcomed us in,” she said. “The main goal of the program is to expose the girls to different types of chesed (kindness/good deeds), so that they can experience for themselves different ways of giving. They can each decide for themselves what they enjoy the most and the hope is that it will encourage them to continue doing chesed throughout their lives.”

The sixth-grade girls meet once a month, sometimes studying texts or concepts, but usually getting hands-on with a project meant to bring good to the world.

The program at the Jewish Home began with an ice-breaker called “human bingo.” The 11 girls (from different schools throughout Bergen County) and the 11 seniors used bingo boards with spaces describing life experiences. The girls walked around the room and asked the residents whether they had experienced such things, resulting in conversations and bonding.

Conversations continued around assigned topics such as “female role models in Jewish history” and which mitzvahs they enjoy most in smaller groups. One resident shared that she had sung in a choir for many years, and they would travel around to different nursing homes to perform. A few other residents commented that they had not known that about her and they were so glad that she shared it.

A bat mitzvah girl shared that she most enjoys the mitzvah of making others happy, and in the end the giver gains even more than the receiver!

Many of the girls left saying, “When can we come back?!”

“I was amazed at the comfort level of the girls to jump right in there and make conversation with the residents,” said Rebbetzin Krohn. “It was beautiful to see how much the residents enjoyed hearing what the girls had to say as well.”

For more information on bat mitzvah programming and other volunteer opportunities at the Jewish Home, contact Stacey Orden at [email protected] or 201-518-1175.

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