I Really Hate Chesed (Kindness) Projects
I really hate chesed projects. It’s a strong statement and I need to explain that I mean this in the context of special needs kids.
Most yeshivas have a requirement for all eighth graders to complete a chesed project. These kids take on projects including the elderly, the homeless, the hungry and special needs kids. While it seems all good superficially, I question what the value is. I can’t help but wonder about the message that is being sent to our society, especially with regards to special needs people.
So in our case, two girls came to “play” with Caily once a week. They felt good and tick! Mitzvah done. Later in life, they will follow in their community foot steps and write a check for a special needs organization. Tick again! Mitzvah completed. But they never learn to open their hearts, home and schools. In fact, the chesed project for a special needs Jewish child and a beggar are the same. Offer a dollar or an hour and done – mission accomplished.
What we fail to teach our children and what the community fails to see is that we want inclusion and acceptance, not chesed.
Metroimmas, can you think of a chesed project for special needs children that would really make difference? Please comment on this post or share your thoughts on this important topic with us on our forum.
Originally posted: March 10, 2011