Growth and Renewal for Tu Bishvat

Senior woman sits with a child as he shows her his artwork.

Hachnasat Orchim, welcoming in visitors, is a value that goes all the way back to Abraham. Our forefather famously had a tent with four doors, so that visitors from all directions felt welcomed in. We had to close so many doors these past few years that we delight in each one we re-open. This year, the children in our programs have shown an eager interest in modeling this mitzvah, as have we! We began to re-open our doors to families this year, welcoming in parents at drop off or celebrating Shabbat with our families. Our RJW ECC classrooms have been welcoming in monthly volunteers, and this semester our Shemesh class at the E-T ECC welcomed a “grandfriend” to the classroom as part of a new intergenerational initiative.

Once a week our grandfriend, Marlin (top photo), who is a WHC member and grandmother herself, joins the Shemesh class as a volunteer. “Gigi,” as the children call her, brings a warm and loving presence as well as new perspectives and life experiences to the Shemesh class. Rooted in the Jewish value of Tzelem Elohim, seeing each individual as created in the image of God, this program aims to bridge the gap between generations, promote inclusion, and reinforce the idea that we are all unique individuals with infinite potential.

This past month, on Tu BiShvat, our ECCs were very excited for another opportunity to open our doors and welcome in the special people in our children’s lives as we celebrated our first L’Dor V’Dor (“from generation to generation”) Day. Tu BiShvat is a marker of growth and renewal, and we were thrilled to explore the holiday as a multigenerational community and celebrate the growth and learning happening in our classrooms. The children welcomed in their grandparents, parents, and special friends to explore and play alongside them. Through play, we connect with our children and better understand what excites and engages them. Whether planting, drawing, or planning a birthday party for trees together, the time and attention given to these children creates an environment that allows them to flourish and strengthens these important relationships.

Teaching values is something we must approach as an everyday practice rather than a specific lesson. Children learn from their community and the important people in their lives, and it is our responsibility to model and represent the values we wish them to learn. Love and connection are just a few of the “seeds” that we want to plant in our children so they grow into adults that value family and community. What are the seeds that you want to plant with your children?

Registration is open for both our ECCs and Camp Keetov this summer. To apply for a spot or request a tour, visit our website and search “ECC.”