As part of HAFTR Middle School’s school-wide advisory program, where all students are placed into small groups with an assigned faculty advisor, November’s advisory session focused on gratitude. Students learned about the importance of Hakaras HaTov, acknowledging the good, giving thanks, and expressing gratitude, and delved into the tremendous role that gratitude plays in Judaism. Students also delved into research that highlights the many benefits of gratitude, including greater health, academic growth, social support, and even better sleep.

Students were then given a “gratitude leaf” and were asked to write down three specific things that they are thankful for. Each advisory group then played a “Gratitude Guess Who” game, where students had to guess which classmate authored each gratitude leaf. These leaves are now hanging throughout the school, highlighting the many blessings students are giving thanks for. Dr. Yali Werzberger, the program’s director, explained, “Among the many positive psychological interventions, practicing gratitude is a significantly potent one due to the lasting beneficial effects it has on children, teenagers, and adults alike. During this session, students were able to quickly be makir tov (identify the good) they have in their lives, and we look forward to incorporating the practice of gratitude throughout our curriculum this year.”