What needs do community members have? The Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens fourth grade students began the school year learning about communities, what makes them the same, and what makes them different. To internalize the message of, “What are some of the needs of our community members?” Mrs. Judy Goldberg, BYQ’s CIJE computer teacher, spoke to the girls about a member of her family’s recent experience in the hospital. Before the fourth grade classes kicked off the school-wide Shabbos Kit Chesed Project, now in its fifth year, and decorating materials for Shabbos kits to be distributed at local hospitals before Rosh HaShanah, the girls heard firsthand about what it’s like to spend Shabbos in the hospital, without family, friends, or the comforts of home. How much more difficult it must be to spend Rosh HaShanah at the hospital? The girls were excited to take part in this tremendous mitzvah of chesed by brightening up the Shabbos and Rosh HaShanah experiences for those patients.

The girls carefully decorated challah covers with original designs and bright colors. Next, they moved on to decorating plastic Kiddush cups. Since hospitals do not allow real candles, each girl decorated two battery-operated tea lights so hospital patients can have Shabbos candles. Finally, the girls wrote heartfelt and cheerful messages on cards to be placed in the Shabbos kits, with best wishes for r’fuah sh’leimah and a happy, healthy new year. What a wonderful experience for the girls to learn the thrill of making a difference and spreading joy to those less fortunate. May they continue to always be on the giving end and always derive great pleasure from helping others!