SARASOTA, FL – On September 28, nearly 20 second and eighth-grade students from Hershorin Schiff Community Day School traveled to Aviva Senior Living to help decorate Aviva’s sukkah, in honor of the Jewish High Holiday of Sukkot. As the school has shown for many years through numerous programs, “l’dor v’dor” (from generation to generation) initiatives nurture mutually beneficial relationships between older and younger members of our community.
The students diligently worked on art pieces to use in the Aviva sukkah for several weeks prior to the event, making vibrant streamers and all-natural wreaths made from items found on the CDS campus, and even gifting their new friends at Aviva with custom kippot (yarmulkes).
Sukkot, which lasts for seven days, is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest holiday. One of the most joyous festivals on the Jewish calendar, Sukkot was originally intended to give thanks for the fall harvest but grew to commemorate the 40 years the Jews wandered in the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt (the sukkah is a representation of the huts in which the Israelites dwelled during those decades). The festival of Sukkot involves the building of a temporary structure, with a roof made of thatch or branches (through which you must be able to see the stars/night sky), with decorations often representing foods of the fall harvest.
Community Day School and Aviva have enjoyed a warm relationship for many years, with intergenerational programming throughout the school year. There are great benefits for both the students, who have learned much from the life stories of residents, and the Aviva residents, who may not have family in town and little opportunity to enjoy the infusion of youthful energy.
“Our intergenerational programs seek to sensitize students to the challenges of the elderly while incorporating Jewish learning and values in their interactions with them,” said Brenna Wilhm, director of development & outreach for Community Day. “The experience at Aviva was immeasurable as new friendships formed and they helped each other hang up decorations while sharing stories and memories along the way!”
For more about Community Day, visit communityday.org.
About Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
The mission of Community Day School, which serves students in early childhood through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit communityday.org or call 941-552-2770.