July 19, 2024
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RKYHS Students Participate in Second Annual Yom Chesed

When planning programming for Chanukah, considerable efforts are often placed on emphasizing some of Chanukah’s long-standing traditions. Chagigot, sufganiyot and zemirot are the norm and frequently serve as the basis for most activities.

Last year, however, RKYHS began a new tradition that has completely redefined the Chanukah experience for its students. In addition to the celebratory activities, students took part in the school’s second annual Yom Chesed, a day in which every student engaged the local community in performing genuine acts of chesed and community service.

The results from Yom Chesed speak for themselves:

Students packed over one hundred boxes of food at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey while some students actively participated in a construction project at a Habitat for Humanity site in Morristown. The shul in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey now has an improved appearance after students gave it a fresh coat of paint. Serving as classroom assistants, students bonded with their peers through educational activities at the P.G. Chambers School, a school for students with special needs. At Arc of Essex County, a school for young students with Down syndrome, Kushner students assisted in the various classroom settings. Under the leadership of Rabbi Richard Kirsch, clothing and food were collected and subsequently distributed to disadvantaged individuals at Newark’s Penn Station, with students personally handing out the items to those in need. Residents at the Daughters of Miriam nursing home were treated to a musical program run by Kushner students. Students packed lunch packages and baked cookies for the needy at Meals with a Mission. Residents at the Lester Senior Housing Community played dreidel and sang Chanukah songs with RKYHS students. Over fifty bags of leaves were raked and cleared away at the Silver Lake Cemetery. To foster inclusion, students joined together with New Jersey Yachad for bowling, conversation, and friendship.

With Yom Chesed now a mainstay of the school’s Chanukah programming, the students see that the joy of Chanukah is all the more meaningful when it becomes an opportunity to enhance the lives of others.

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