Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Tu B’Shevat coincided with Martin Luther King Day this year. Both holidays, although representing very different purposes, encourage celebrating God’s creations.

Tu B’Shevat celebrates trees and the bountiful produce. In elementary school, the students learned about the importance of planting in Israel and related mitzvot and halachot. They studied the brachot said on food, both before or after eating. Each grade celebrated its study of Tu B’Shevat with a delicious seder. It was amazing how many brachot students said. In middle school, the students focused on shivat haminim and the power of “amen.” They celebrated with a seudat amenim.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, BPY studied the legacy of MLK. In addition to the varied lessons and books read in class, both the elementary school and middle school students participated in very powerful assemblies. After learning about MLK and his role in teaching his followers about peaceful conflict resolution, the elementary students focused on how they can learn from MLK when dealing with situations that arise in school. They must respect each other, no matter their differences. When conflicts arise, they must find peaceful ways to solve the disagreements and no matter what, they must remember that we are all God’s creations. The middle school students focused on how they must react to racism. After responding to a very powerful video clip, students shared how they can help put a stop to hateful behavior—no matter the form. The students then heard from Rav Aviv Abebe who shared his personal experience as an oleh chadash from Ethiopia. In groups, the students then worked on creating a BPY pledge to ensure that all students are treated with respect, no matter their differences.

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