Acts of chesed these days are more important than ever, even while social distancing. With that in mind, the students of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls spent the week of October 26 listening to and learning from people who personify the attribute of chesed.

Setting the tone for the week on Monday, Mrs. Shimi Adar spoke to the entire SKA student body on Zoom about making a difference in the world. Mrs. Adar, whose motto is “Be the reason someone smiles,” is a motivational speaker, MC for various charities, and an entertainer, and her positive energy and enthusiasm extended far beyond the screen. Throughout the session, Mrs. Adar emphasized that the past months made her more proactive and creative in her approaches to doing chesed; she used her social media platform to spread cheer during this troubled time and inspire people to copy her good deeds. This interview was a great way to start SKA’s Chesed Week!

For Tuesday’s event, a panel of “models of chesed” showed the girls how they translated their passion for good works into action. The students were honored to hear from Mrs. Sherri Hammer (an SKA parent who is a director of iShine), Mrs. Jenny Gerber (an SKA alumna who runs a toy gemach and party dress gemach in her home), and Ms. Kyra Englander (an SKA alumna who now lives in Israel and volunteers with people with disabilities). These role models made an incredible impact on the girls and charged them with getting involved in chesed.

A unique SKA student chesed project took place in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink challah rolls were sold that evening to benefit Sharsheret, an organization that supports Jewish women facing this challenge.

The annual SKA Chesed Fair, featuring new opportunities for volunteer work, was held on Wednesday. Dynamic SKA student leaders explained the organizations they participate in to students in each grade. Yashar koach to Lilly Glickman, Kayla Frenkel, Kelly Friedman, Talia Loskove, Tamar Mayer, Rina Sharbat, and Molly Sigman for Yachad; Abby Ackerman, Atara Kleinman, and Chani Ribenow for Friendship Circle; Talia Belsky and Finnie Elkouby for the JCC; Anni Laufer for Peer Tutoring; Riki Posner for ATSB; Kayla Aryeh and Megan Solomon for NCSY’s array of services; Priva Halpert for the Greater Five Towns Sefarim Gemach; and Ariella Borah and Shoshi Greenberg for Sharing the Warmth of kindness – offering drinks to the SKA security guards and pursuing other ways to help and support all staff at SKA.

Sponsored by SKA’s Israel Action Committee, students brought in bags of clothing to be shipped to Yad Leah each day of Chesed Week. Thursday’s theme of “Cookies and Chesed” had the SKA students spending their lunch break helping others by either packing the incredible amount of clothes collected or making activity packets for people having cancer treatments as they cannot be accompanied to the hospital.

Thanks go to our special speaker and panelists, Rabbi Yosef Zakutinsky and Mrs. Yafa Storch, Director and Assistant of Student Programs, Chesed Coordinator Mrs. Leanne Taylor, IAC advisor Mrs. Penina Bernstein, Graphics Instructor Mrs. Rivie Blum for her gorgeous flyer, and the many chesed committee members for organizing this wonderful week-long program.