Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts

In Nitzanim, we’ve been working to understand that our actions affect one another. Using key Hebrew words of מהר (fast) and לאט (slow), we played Mirror. One child leads, making gentle hand motions for her partner to follow. Then we switch leaders. After Mirror, we played lots of cooperative tag games.

We awaken our internal חסד (chessed) by seeing how we’re all connected. After our cooperative games, we read Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts. Children were riveted by the story of Jeremy, whose Grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need.” Jeremy wants a pair of sneakers that lots of kids at school have, but what he needs is a pair of winter boots. He finally buys a pair of sneakers that are too small at a thrift shop and has to decide what to do with the shoes.

Nitzanimers are just starting to comprehend that some people in the world don’t have enough money to buy things they want, or maybe even need. Once we can see other people’s need, and are in touch with our internal חסד (chessed), it’s only a short jump to introduce our responsibility to צדקה (tzedakah).

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