The Rashi School has a long-standing partnership with the Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Metrowest, with students running sponsored programs such as the Annual Backpack Event, meal distributions, and clothing drives. This year, Rashi’s Middle School is taking the partnership to the next level with the formation of the JFS-Rashi Learning and Leadership Council.
The Learning and Leadership Council consists of 15-20 students in Grades 6-8, who will meet quarterly throughout the 2022-23 school year. Their meetings will consist of leadership training, Jewish learning, and JFS program planning. The Council will also serve the students in building key networking skills, allowing them to form strong connections within their community and amongst their peers.
In their collaboration with JFS, Rashi Middle Schoolers have learned how to take initiative, recruit volunteers, secure donations of materials, and commit to leading their school community to further everyone’s awareness of local needs. From that first Backpack Event, students wanted to understand more, and began seeing the struggles of others through a communal lens. They saw that it was imperative to work towards greater equity.
“Rashi’s core values, tzedek (justice), kehilah (community), limud (learning), ruach (spirit), and kavod (respect), derived from the tenets of Judaism, command us to do this work,” – Joni Fishman, Middle School Dean of Students.
In their first meeting of the year, students spoke about antisemitism, leadership and allyship. The meeting was facilitated by Deborah Kardon, Rashi alumni parent, Jewish educator and Post-Soviet Jewry leader; Lino Covarrubias, Chief Executive Officer of JFS of Metrowest; and Jayne Lampert, Senior Director of Philanthropy of JFS Metrowest.
“Watching [the] Rashi Middle School students’ interest and enthusiasm today, and listening to their thoughtful and inquisitive questions, I know that our collaborative goals for this program will be met and exceeded,” wrote Lampert.
“In this very divisive and complicated society,” said Fishman, “it is even more important that we help our students understand that even at their young age, their actions can make a difference.”