Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter Colors, Created By Kids

Yom revi'i, 13 Kislev 5769.

May I share with you the beauty that is wrought by the hands of kids with paint?  Hardened city-dwellers, don't be afraid.  This is not the graffiti we have come to know and love tolerate, with deep sighs.  This is what happens when kids in the Bnei Akiva movement in Israel "show their pride" by decorating their snif (branch) for their particular shevet (tribe -- in this case, a group of kids of the same age).  Each shevet receives a special name when the kids reach 14 years of age -- and they can connect with each other by that name throughout their lives.  (The "old boy" network starts very young in Israel.)  The yearly renovations happen with little or no supervision.  Part of Bnei Akiva's genius is that the big kids guide the little kids; and the grownups go to work, where they belong. 
When I was much younger, I was privileged to work with little kids, to try to help them to improve their reading.  The kids taught me great things about the relationship between their use of color and their self-value, and ultimately their ability to believe they could become better people.

The kids of Bnei Akiva, Snif Neve Daniel, give me a lot of hope in the future of our people.

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