Students help the homeless: “We must ensure every person’s dignity”
The students of Jerusalem’s “Ohr Torah Ariel” High School for Boys have come up with a special initiative – preparing hot meals and giving them to the city’s homeless
Arutz 7 News | 5.4. 2022
To mark Rosh Chodesh Nissan and as part of the process of learning about the mitzva of Tzedakah – charitable giving – Eighth Grade students from Jerusalem’s “Ohr Torah Ariel” Boys’ High School, named in memory of Jacob Sapirstein, have come up with a special initiative: providing hot meals to the homeless.
The students cooked the food together in a dedicated safe space at their school, preparing, among other dishes, pasta, schnitzels, and salads. They then packed the lunches they had prepared, and gave them out to the homeless in Jerusalem’s city center, from the central bus station all the way to the Western Wall.
Eight Grade homeroom teacher, Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, accompanied them, but the initiative began with an idea raised by the students themselves, who asked to put it to practice. Their parents also got on board, and many of them donated money to allow them to buy meat and top-quality ingredients for their project.
“The beauty is seeing the light – the twinkle in the students’ eyes, and in the eyes of those who received the meals”, says Rabbi Cohen. “We learned in class the [Talmudic] story of Mar Ukva, who gave charity to a poor man every single day. One day, he and his wife went to give charity to the poor man, and he came out of his house. The rabbi and his wife, who did not want to be seen giving charity so as not to shame the poor man, hid in an oven. The rabbi’s feet were burned, whereas his wife’s were not. She explained that it was because she was bringing the poor people food, instead of money, and as a result, the students decided to raise money, use it to buy and cook food, and give it to the needy”.
“It was a very meaningful experience”, recounts Shmuel Barkai, an Eighth Grader who took part in the activity. “Every person has their dignity, and some of them refused to accept the meal from us and should be respected for that, whereas others were delighted and blessed us. We must ensure every person’s dignity”.
“The entire daily schedule at Ohr Torah Stone is based on solidarity and mutual responsibility as its underlying values”, sums up the principal of “Ohr Torah Ariel,” Yuval Farjun. “A person cannot simply take care of themselves, they must be attentive to those around them and be ready to help, whenever required, even if their help goes unrewarded. We are proud of our students for this welcome initiative, which shows that the principles of arvut hadadit – mutual responsibility – have sunk in”.