Rabbi Boruch Ber Bender, president of Achiezer, address and advise the staff of CAHAL on how to help their students become more involved in acts of chesed.
Rabbi Bender described how chesed is not just a project, but a way of life. He shared many stories about community members who became involved in chesed activities through Achiezer, and how they enabled their children to experience giving chesed firsthand.
He suggested that CAHAL staff ask students to picture themselves on the receiving end, so that they can todevelop empathy and the ability to feel someone else’s pain.
Rabbi Bender said that chesed opportunities are often right in our own backyards, and they are a win-win for both the receiver and the giver. Practical examples included helping elderly neighbors after a snow storm by shoveling their walk, helping bring food to restock hospital respite rooms, and making challah covers for families who stay in hospitals over Shabbat.
Rabbi Bender concluded by reminding everyone that chesed empowers children and builds greater confidence and self-esteem.
CAHAL staff shared their own experiences with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and how grateful they were for Achiezer’s help.
After the presentation, the CAHAL staff collaborated to plan chesed initiatives with their classes and in the community. They also expressed interest in helping to expand Achiezer’s newest initiative, CIMBY (Chesed In My BackYard), to include even more opportunities.
The Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst graciously hosted the gathering.