On Friday, June 14, ninety Gan Chamesh students paraded down Maple Avenue in a culmination of an amazing year of growth and learning. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and guests lined the streets as they cheered on the young graduates marching with great pride!
The focus of the parade was the mitzvah of tzedakah. In a yearlong exploration, the Gan Chamesh students delved deeper into this mitzvah by seeing the process through from beginning to end. Putting pennies in a tzedakah box is an integral part of every preschooler’s morning routine, but it can sometimes stop at that without having children truly understand what happens to the money after it’s dropped in the box.
This year, in conjunction with the exciting math unit, children spent time counting, sorting, categorizing, and adding their savings so they can better understand the value of money and how it can help others.
As a school, the young students chose to donate their year’s tzedakah savings to Hatzalah. This was a meaningful learning opportunity as the children internalized that tzedakah is not only for the poor person—which might be hard for them to conceptualize—but it can be given to a community organization that helps so many. To this end, Hatzalah members were invited to the school to explain and show the children what their tzedakah money can be used for, from buying band-aids and supplies to getting gas for the truck so that they can reach the people who need their help.
The tzedakah parade was an incredible finale to this yearlong process as each child marched out shaking their very own filled tzedakah box and then placed them into the grand tzedakah box on display. It was an amazing sight to see a Hatzalah truck pull up to the parade and the children were able to present all of their savings to a Hatzalah member.
What an inspirational lesson this was for the children and everyone present. A big thank you to the Village of Cedarhurst, as well as to the local police department and the auxiliary police for helping carry through this magnificent event. Thank you to the local Hatzalah members who were amazing at helping the children with this special mitzvah.
Gan Chamesh is Chabad of the Five Town’s preschool, known for its innovative education and warmth. If you would like more information about the program, please call 516-295-2479. v