A Maimonides student welcomes a couple who have come to a student-run kosher soup kitchen for a meal. Grade 7 students create colorful designs on t-shirts they will donate to Children’s Hospital. Children tell jokes and sing songs to residents in a nursing home. From Kindergarten through Grade 12, this caring attitude is ever present, a visible thread running through the fabric of Maimonides School.
Students’ awareness of the importance of chesed profoundly shapes their priorities and regard for others. Through an extensive number of projects, students work together to translate a philosophy of compassion into deeds of caring. Elementary School classes each choose a special project for the year. Middle and Upper School projects are coordinated through the Student Council Chesed Committee and class chesed representatives. Each year, our Project Shalom connects individual seniors to volunteer opportunities with a wide range of Jewish communal agencies and institutions.
In addition to class projects, individual students often organize for a particularly meaningful cause. Most chesed and tzedakah projects are, in fact, organized by students. Gittel’s Kitchen, Greater Boston’s only kosher soup kitchen, was the brainchild of a Maimonides senior in 1996. What she started, students today willingly carry on.
Whether the cause is local or global, students take action. Sometimes the results are public, like a celebrity’s visit to reward success in raising money for the American Cancer Society. Sometimes the results are quiet, like the smiles exchanged between students and patients their own age at Children’s Hospital. Maimonides students’ dedication to a world beyond the classroom reflects a comprehensive understanding of ahavat Yisrael (love of one’s fellow Jew) and k’vod habriot (respect for one’s fellow man). And as graduates demonstrate through the years, this compassionate concern endures.