Each week, the middle school students are assigned a reflective journal topic to write about on their blogs. It is a collaborative assignment for Jewish Studies and Language Arts. The students wrote powerful reflections about their recent Mitzvah trip. All of the students worked hard on their posts, but I chose three to highlight this week based on their ability to follow the RUBRIC. Take a moment to read their posts. The students would love some positive comments, so if you have a moment, send them each a nice comment. Take a look at some of the other quality posts by going to the blog roll on the side bar.
One of the Jewish holidays that all Jews celebrate is RoshHashanah. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year. On Rosh Hashanah, we eat apples and honey to symbolize a sweet new year. We also eat pomegranate seeds because a pomegranate has 613 seeds, and we have 613 mitzvot. On the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, we blow ashofar. A shofar is a ram’s horn. Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important Jewish holidays, so many more people are at services that week, than any other week of the year.
On Friday, we went on a mitzvah trip. We go on mitzvah trips every Friday. A mitzvah trip is when we go somewhere to help others. Sometimes we make bagged meals for people who wouldn’t be having dinner. Other times, we deliver things to the elderly, or visit a place where people with disabilities are. This week, we baked honey cakes for the holidays, and gave them to the elderly. We baked 200 honey cakes. To deliver them, we were divided into cars. Each car visited different people.
One of the houses my group visited was the house of an elderly woman named Rose. I think the trip to Rose’s house was the most meaningful. This particular visit was the most meaningful because she talked a lot of her life during the Holocaust. It
made me grateful I was not alive during that time. Because she did not know we were coming, Rose was very surprised and happy to see us. She showed us many of her family photos, and explained each and every one of them.
We did the mitzvah of כיבוד זקינים – honoring the elderly. We all were very well behaved and respectful with Rose. I think this is important to be respectful to the elderly because they are very old and often full of wisdom. This generation was alive during the Holocaust, so just to be living is a wonder. This mitzvah will affect my preparing for the holidays, because for every holiday you have to do mitzvot, and I have already done one.
The mitzvah trip was very fun and I hope to visit Rose again sometime.
Image Credits: Microsoft Clip Art
The Sweet Satisfaction of Giving by Brianna
Some people may associate the word honey with a sticky mess, while others may call someone honey as an affectionate nickname. In Judaism, the word honey is used as a symbolrepresenting sweet. When wishing someone a Happy New Year, we add the word sweet saying “May you have a Sweet and Happy New Year.” To help spread ‘sweetness’ to others, it is our school’s tradition to make and deliver honey cakes, as a sentimental gesture in wishing someone to have a Sweet and Happy New Year. This week for our Mitzvah Trip we did just that.
Prior to Friday’s Mitzvah Trip, the Middle School baked 300 honey cakes. Our teacher had a very long list of peoples’ names that would benefit from receiving our homemade honey cakes. On Friday, we divided into cars with our assigned list of addresses and honey cakes we would be delivering to seniors, those who were ill, and some who had just lost a family member. Our car was assigned to make deliveries to three houses. The delivery that was the most meaningful to me was surprising an elderly lady who wasn’t expecting any visitors. The apartment building we went to had a buzzer to get into the building. You buzz the person you want to visit and they buzz you in. At first she was apprehensive, but once we identified where we were from, and what we had for her, she buzzed us up. She was very happy to receive our gift in wishing her a Sweet and Happy New Year. However, she surprised us too. She gave us a donation that we could use towards other Mitzvah Trips. This validated to me that one Mitzvah can inspire others to want to do their own Mitzvah, paying it forward.
Our Mitzvah was visiting the sick and elderly. This Mitzvah is important as often the sick and elderly do not have the capability to leave their house, and can become lonely and isolated. It made me happy to know that I helped make someone else feel special, making their day and holiday more meaningful. This Mitzvah Trip made me more grateful that my grandparents live close by, and I get to spend the Rosh Hashanah holiday with them. We always eat dinner there. Our family tradition is going around the table and telling everyone what we were grateful for from last year, and what we are looking forward to in the New Year. I want to cherish my family being all together.
Pic Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66309414@N04/6158312483/sizes/o/in/photolist-aobXKr-d9SSKg-arqsWD-art8oC-arqruk-arqqKT-arqs8e-8zirpj-fqyggz-fqygBc-8y4WyT-dd241k-dd26FG-dd26h5-dbs1GE-dcUCzb-asD14R-dcUDLE-dcUxjR-dcUKPo-asG6ru-8ztJBy-dcUQJz-8AoxfT-8AoQyg-dcUQnt-8AqNfC-8ArgkA-8AqRRh-asDn6z-asDkep-dcUDa4-dbNrKX-dbNw9e-dbNBP2-dbNpgv-dbN7Ti-dbNejD-dbNhWT-dbNv2y-dbNzLp-dbNkaP-dbNcdg-dbN6A9-dbNxWZ-dbigZw-asDQcn-asDEJx-asDcNV-dcUHrb-asDxTt/
Honey Cakes Galore! (Journal #2) by Allie
On Wednesday, my class made three batches of honey cakes to deliver to the elderly throughout Jacksonville. On Friday, during our mitzvah trip, we delivered the honey cakes to their homes for Rosh Hashanah. You are supposed to eat honey cakes every year so you can have an extra sweet new year. Out of all of the deliveries we made, my favorite one was visiting a lady who was living with her mom. Her mom had broken four ribs recently, so she couldn’t walk around. Instead of her coming to the door, the old lady’s daughter directed us to her room. She looked so happy to see us. You could tell she was happy because when we walked into her room, her face lit up.
The mitzvah we fulfilled was helping the elderly. This mitzvah is extremely important because, without the elderly people in our community, we wouldn’t have grandparents. Grandparents are like a second pair of parents. They are always there for you in times of need. When you have a play or the talent show, they always come to support you. This will affect my celebration of Rosh Hashanah because I will be able to appreciate how young I am and how much of my life I still have to live and learn about. During services this year, I need to pray that I will have a happy and healthy new year!