By Aleza Kulp, Education Director and Congregation Program Coordinator
Recently I had the opportunity to be part of a conversation our Kitah Hey (5th grade) students were having about the middah (value) Sameach B’Chelkoh, that one should be happy with one’s portion in life. Each student created a list of what they need in life versus what they want. Common items in the “need column” were water, shelter, food, family, friends, and clothing. One student listed medicine as a need which led to a discussion about why people might need medicine to live.
What I found very interesting was the debate for the need for community amongst members of the class. Do we need community to help us be happy in life? I wanted the students to think of a pizza pie and each slice was a part of our lives. Does community fit into that pizza? Yes! For example, being counted in a minyan when a person is reciting Kaddish is community. In addition, helping to make sandwiches for members of those in need is community. And hearing the Megillah being read on Purim is community. Celebrating with friends and family at their Bar or Bat Mitzvah is definitely community for each of these students.
As the students in Kitah Hey begin to think about becoming a B’nei Mitzvah in the coming years, I hope each of them will value the portion given in their life and how community is an essential part of their individual pie.