The Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) partnered with the eighth-graders at Pardes Jewish Day School this year for the Better Together program, which provides an opportunity for students to interact with older members of the Jewish community, as well as hear about and learn from the adults’ life experiences.
The program provides a way to keep the older generation involved and allows seniors to feel important and needed, according to the BJE.
“It also helps unite older and younger people who often do not have many opportunities to interact with one another,” said Linda Feldman, BJE director of family education, in material submitted from BJE. “Students actively learn the Jewish value of honoring our elders and showing affection and caring for our seniors.”
As part of the program, which is funded by a national foundation that chooses to remain anonymous, students entered the “Better2Write” contest, writing and highlighting their monthly experiences and their ideas about working with the elderly.
The contest winner was Julia Caplan, who wrote, “We are grateful we get to hear what their life was like as a Jew, and how we should live our lives as Jewish teenagers in our world. The experience I had, along with my peers and my new found friends, created an environment that really showed that it means to be ‘better together.’ ”
Five Pardes students received honorable mention for their essays: Ari Anderson, Marisa Greenberg, Raechel Rawicz, Simone Rawicz and Kori Schwarz.
Students and seniors met monthly during lunchtime from September through April, participating in a variety of activities that allowed the participants to learn from each other and develop relationships.
The culminating event was April 21, when the teens and seniors got together with their parents for root beer floats, sundaes and other refreshments. It was announced at the event that the Better Together program will return in the fall.