May 27, 2024
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Yavneh Academy Goes B.I.G. for Israel

The season between Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim is always a highlight at Yavneh Academy as the school joyously celebrate love for and support of Medinat Yisrael. This year, seventh graders spearheaded a campaign to send a concrete message of support to the world by combating the BDS movement as part of their advisory curriculum. The unit called “Do Not Stand Idly By” focuses on the fact that we are responsible for one another. When injustice is happening, one cannot stand idly by- one needs to do something. This unit is meant to highlight the importance of not being a bystander and rather being an “upstander.” We alll have a responsibility to act and intervene when we see injustice happening in the world or in our personal lives. Students spent five weeks learning and discussing why it is essential to be an upstander, why people often do not intervene and the skills needed to stand up and act. They explored demonstrating this behavior in classrooms and social groups through standing up to bullying, social exclusion and other moral and ethical injustices. The unit culminates in stressing that they also demonstrate this action in the community and in the world at large. This year, Yavneh chose to tackle standing up to the injustice of the BDS movement and their impact. Students would make a statement and not stand idly by as the BDS perpetrators spread falsehoods about Israel.

This unit culminated in the school-wide B.I.G. Weekend—Buy Israeli Goods Weekend—leading up to Yom Yerushalayim, run by our seventh graders. One way to stand up to the BDS movement, which tries to dissuade people from buying Israeli products, is by going out and buying those products. Our campaign was two-fold. First, we contacted all the local kosher supermarkets who agreed to hang a banner in their windows that said “Join Yavneh Academy’s B.I.G. Weekend and Buy Israeli Goods.” On that day, we asked Yavneh families to go to one of the participating supermarkets, and as they purchase Israeli products to take photos of themselves doing so, and post it to Facebook including “Yavneh Academy Supports Israel #YavnehBuyIsraeliGoodsDay.”

The second piece of our campaign was to sell Israeli products in school to the students on Yom Yerushalayim to raise funds for Stand With Us. The sale was an overwhelming success, and was single handedly coordinated by seventh graders. Students also wrote letters to local senators to support two pieces of legislation to fight BDS.

Students left this BIG Day and this unit in advisory realizing that even though they may be “small” they can achieve “BIG” things for others and for Israel!

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