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May 07

Community and Responsibility

We have been in our theme,  בִּיקוּר חוֹלִים (bikur cholim – visiting sick people), for four whole weeks now and throughout those four weeks, the children have been introduced to a variety of different Jewish texts that talk about visiting sick people. We’ve thought about our personal experiences with being sick and visiting sick people, what it is like from the visitor’s perspective and from the sick person’s perspective, how visiting can take away a little bit of the sick person’s suffering, whether we think it’s a good idea to visit even if you aren’t friends with or don’t know the sick person very well, and so much more.

One idea that Nitzanim (“Buds” for 1st graders) children have continued to come back to is that it is a nice and kind thing to do to visit someone who is sick. As one child put it “if they didn’t go [visit], nothing bad will happen. But we should go. Because we want [the sick person] to feel happy.”

This week, Nitzanim heard a text that said “It is a Jewish responsibility to visit sick people.” While the word “responsibility” did not stick so much with the 1st graders, they continued to voice the opinion that we all should visit people who are sick. They shared that a community in which everyone has a responsibility to take care of each other feels:

  • “Good. They are very happy people are helping each other because if nobody helped each other, they will be alone.”
  • “Really nice. It makes people know that you care about them.”

While 1st graders might still be working out what it means to have a responsibility, they certainly know what it means to be a part of a community and that people in community caring for each other is important to them. It was wonderful to hear their thoughts on community, especially in the context of recognizing that all of us in Nitzanim are a part of each other’s communities, and have been taking care of each other all year.

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