July 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Moriah Fourth Graders Offer a Helping Hand

Kindness and compassion are qualities we should instill in our children from the get-go. As it says in the Torah, V’ahavta lereiacha kamocha/Love your friend as you love yourself. This Jewish principle is taught from the earliest point of education. The fourth grade at the Moriah School was presented an unfortunate opportunity to personify this philosophy when a classmate recently became ill.

Fourth-grader Bennett Burgida was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the school year. Upon learning about this misfortune, his classmates were eager to find ways to help their peer through a rough time. Through discussion with Morah Odelia Danishefsky, associate principal of the Lower School, the students began to consider how they could make a difference.

They decided to spearhead a bake sale that they themselves would organize. Many students baked and others helped with the sale itself. At the suggestion of Bennett’s parents, who explained how helpful Chai Lifeline has been, all proceeds were donated to the organization in Bennett’s honor. The bake sale was held on Thursday, May 11, at the Siegler home in Englewood and was well attended by the Moriah family as well as the greater community. Morah Odelia surprised the students at the sale and handed out Moriah hats for everyone.

Nava Siegler, who helped organize the sale, said, “It made me feel good that I was doing a mitzvah. We wanted to include the whole fourth grade so everyone could be a part of the mitzvah. We are really proud of the money we raised.”

“We thought of doing a bake sale because we both love to bake and to help people, like our friend who is sick. It made me feel like I was doing a good thing for Bennett, and if he knew about it he would be happy,” expressed Rae Herschmann. Over 100 items were baked and everything was sold, raising an impressive $4,000 for Chai Lifeline.

In addition to the efforts of the fourth graders, Moriah Association of Parents (MAP) sold “warrior bracelets,” which were graciously donated by the Sable family, grandparents of one of Bennett’s classmates. To date the bracelets have raised $1,800 with proceeds going towards Chai Lifeline.

Local fifth-grade girls participate in a bat mitzvah program where they are involved in a chesed project each month. They, too, dedicated a bake sale in honor of Bennett in April, and raised $2,058 for Tackle Kids Cancer under Hackensack University medical center (http://www.tacklekidscancer.org).

“Of course we are so proud of the projects and fundraisers that the fourth-grade students and their parents initiated and led, but what is less known and even more impressive, is the day-to-day sensitivity, empathy and concern that the students and parents displayed for their friend,” articulated Danishefsky. “Bennett’s teachers set an incredible example for the students in their constant dedication and concern for him and in their outpouring of love.”

The foundation of Torah values embodied in the students at Moriah is inspirational. Even at such a young age, these girls and boys were ready to respond to a problem with a willingness to help in any capacity available to them. Their main objective was to exhibit kindness to a fellow classmate who was facing a challenge.

By Andrea Nissel

 

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