June 6, 2024
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Torah Academy of Minnesota Students Create ‘Achdus Club’

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Students in first and third grades at Torah Academy in Minnesota were each given a free book earlier this month in recognition for their efforts to build friendship among their classmates thanks to their creation of an achdus (unity) club.

According to teacher Tzippy Prero, “After October 7, each class at Torah Academy of Minneapolis chose a specific mitzvah or middah to improve on. The first- and third-grade girls took upon themselves the middah of achdus.”

They even created a puzzle with each girl designing one piece. When it was completed, their teacher said, it spelled out v’ahavtah larayachah kamochah, love your neighbor as yourself.

The girls also made sure that no one was sitting alone at lunch or recess. The third-graders even created a “recess rotation,” changing out which games were played when so everyone could have a turn at their favorite break-time activity.

Faygie Holt

The creation of their “Achdus Club,” and their efforts to foster friendships, was mentioned in an article in the newspaper Hamodia. It caught the attention of author, journalist and regular Jewish Link contributor Faygie Holt, whose children’s book series is actually called “The Achdus Club.”

Touched by the girls’ actions, Holt wanted to do something to honor them. Thanks to an anonymous donor, each girl was gifted with their own copy of “The New Girl,” the first book in Holt’s ongoing series. Additionally, her publisher, Menucha Publishers, chipped in and discounted the costs of each book in recognition of the girls’ actions.

The third-graders received their books while participating in a Zoom meeting with the author. The students talked about how it feels to be left out of a group and why achdus is important. They also shared a song they learned about friendship.

“We wanted to thank Mrs. Holt for meeting with us and for the amazing books,” Prero said. “I think every girl came back the next day and said, ‘That book was amazing! I finished it last night.’ God willing we should have the ultimate achdus with the hostages returning home as well as the coming of Moshiach.”

School administrator Rabbi Joshua Borenstein added, “‘Mini’ achdus in ‘Mini-apolis’ discovers a greater achdus in a much bigger Jewish world. This is something they will not forget.”

“What these girls did is beautiful,” said Holt. “Their focus on making sure that everyone has someone to play with and is never alone is a beautiful example of their middos, their positive traits. Their actions should inspire the adults around them to focus on finding the good in others and reaching out to those who need a friend.”

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