Magen David Yeshivah (MDY) has proudly announced the winners of its fourth annual Haim Dweck Hesed Competition.
The competition challenges MDY’s sixth grade class to develop and implement ideas for how they can reach out to others in need of help and extend kindness to them. The competition was founded by Hymie Dweck, the grandson of Haim Dweck, and supported by MDY Principal Rabbi Baruch Hilsenrath and Vice Principal Rabbi David Sultan. The Haim Dweck Hesed Award, a $10,000 scholarship that is divided between the four finalists, is sponsored by the children and grandchildren of Haim Dweck, in his memory.
As part of the 2011/2012 competition, which was launched in September 2011, the 175 student sixth grade class was asked – but not required – to submit one-page ideas for a hesed project that will help someone other than themselves. With a record-breaking response, more than 70 projects were selected by Rabbi Hilsenrath and Rabbi Sultan as ideas that could be implemented. Those students were then asked to execute their projects and submit an innovative presentation through a video, slide show, scrapbook, poster, journal or other creative idea.
“This competition challenges students to think of others before themselves,” says Rabbi Sultan. “This is an important step in maturity and awareness of the world around them.”
The four finalists were chosen by Rabbis Hilsenrath and Rabbi Sultan and were selected on the basis of their creativity, execution, presentation and the overall success of their projects.
This year’s winners included:
Esther Balassiano: Esther’s hesed project, “Let me be Your Write Hand Man,” is for students who missed school. Esther brings these students class notes and assignments so that it is easier for them to catch up once they return to class. This helps students feel less nervous and anxious about missing school.
Vivian Gindi: Vivian created “Kidskook,” a cookbook for kids that includes recipes kids can make for themselves. The book, which was published as a 100% donation, includes recipes from friends and family and the proceeds collected from “Kidskook” are being donated to the Sephardic Bikur Holim Food Pantry.
Lauren Laniado: The purpose of Lauren’s project, “Birthday Magic,” is to give all you’ve got to help others by being generous and there for everyone. Lauren collected the birthdays of residents of the Ahi Ezer Congregation Nursing Home and has made sure to bring cards and cake for each person celebrating his or her special day.
Mary Salem: Mary, along with a few close friends and family, bought CD players and candy filled dreidels for kids from “The Special Children’s Center” – a center for children with special needs. The gifts were given to each class for Chanukah so that the children could celebrate the holiday with special treats and music. The children enjoyed the Chanukah parties through dancing and spinning their dreidels with Mary and her friends and family.
Each of the winning students will be honored at an awards ceremony on May 23, 2012 at MDY. The entire sixth grade class, teachers and families of those being recognized will be in attendance to help celebrate the winners and the overall kindness of this award.
“The Haim Dweck Hesed Competition’s main goals are to imbue a sense of hesed and responsibility at an early age and to spread kindness to others – exactly what the program accomplishes,” says Hymie Dweck, founder of The Haim Dweck Hesed Award.