On Wednesday, October 28, Shevach students entered their Multi-Purpose Room to find it transformed into a “science laboratory.” The artwork on the walls was eye catching, containing scientific “matter” relating to chesed. One wall portrayed a solar system of planets with names such as Bnos, Help-A-Mom, Chill Zone, and Menucha V’Simcha, reminding all to expand their “horizons.” Another wall was turned into a Periodic Table of the Elements, with quotes such as “Do chesed periodically,” “Chesed is our Oxygen, and “Chesed Is More Precious Than Gold and Silver.”

The room “positively” conveyed the feeling that chesed truly matters, as was the theme of this year’s Chesed breakout. Shevach Chesed heads Shifra Gewanter, Goldy Max, Dasi Moskowitz, and Nechama Ribowsky, under the direction of Shevach Assistant Principal Rebbetzin Chani Grunblatt, outdid themselves in portraying this theme.

Rabbi Dovid Niman, Principal of General Studies at Mesivta Chofetz Chaim, addressed the students on the power and impact of chesed. In a workshop-style discussion, he brought home the point that the repercussions of an act of chesed is even more far-reaching than that of tz’dakah because it involves one’s emotions – one’s neshamah – it can be done with all people, whether rich or poor, and can even be done for those who have already departed this world.

Rabbi Niman then brought this concept to life with riveting stories and anecdotes that held the audience captivated. The Shevach girls were touched not only by the orphaned little girl who wanted to buy her older sister a beautiful diamond bracelet as a thank you for all she was doing for her, but also by the jeweler who sold it for pennies because he recognized the emotional component of this gesture.

Rabbi Niman ended with a moving example of a paragon of chesed, his wife Robin a”h, whose first yahrzeit recently took place. Robin’s desire to do chesed was so strong, she defied the scientific odds of what a woman in her advanced stage of cancer is able to accomplish. A few months prior to her passing, after a full day of grueling treatments with complicating setbacks, and after finally settling down to get the rest she desperately needed, she received a call from the local mikvah. A woman with an emotional fear of water needed immediate support, both physically and emotionally, and was adamant that the only one capable of helping her was Robin. To the amazement of all, despite the late hour, Robin got up and went out to answer the call of chesed.

After this truly inspiring talk, the senior Chesed heads presented their theme of “Chessed Matters” through an amusing video that they had produced. The video depicted different scenarios of people seeking help, the Shevach “scientists” experimenting with different “formulas,” and finally coming up with the perfect “solution” to everyone’s problems – chesed!

The Chesed heads ended the breakout with an original and catchy theme song conveying this thought. In line with the science-related theme, each student received a cup, imprinted with the “Chessed Matters” logo, which changed colors when filled with cold liquids.

Everyone left the breakout charged with “positive energy,” ready to help change the world, through a clearer understanding of how “Chessed Matters.” Kudos to the Shevach Chesed heads, who put in many hours to produce an incredible and memorable event.