YES: Transformative trip inspires local chesed

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By Gabby Lasry, 11th Grade

BP Photo by Neima Fax

As most juniors at Shalhevet will tell you, the chesed trip is one of the greatest parts of the year. The chesed trip, which is offered to both juniors and sophomores, is an excellent way to do community service outside of school and bond with classmates at the same time.

Last year, the sophomore class went to Nevada, where they performed a number of different chesed activities. At a food packaging facility, they threw oranges into bins and put boxes away, and felt they were actively improving lives and had truly completed the chesed. This instilled an everlasting love for helping others.

I can vividly remember my friends and me discussing how we appreciated that we are able to help those in need. Other students later joined in on the conversation and said things like, “We don’t even care about the chesed hours, what we are doing here is incredible.” That is the point of this trip. It is not so students can simply get a few extra hours toward a requirement. It is for students to value chesed, enjoy chesed, and realize it’s importance.

Also during my sophomore year, I remember walking around the women’s shelter in Henderson, Nev., and learning about the challenges that the women there have to face. This event had allowed students to feel so much gratitude for the lives they live, and also understand the reality of the world we live in.

In fact, these trips were among the various reasons that Caroline Edry and I decided to start our new club, Hope4Humanity, which offers students the opportunity to do chesed once a month in the Greater Los Angeles Community. The point of Hope4Humanity is the same as the chesed trip — to expand the type of chesed the student body participates in. Furthermore, the goal is to interest all types of students so they want to help the less fortunate. By joining with many different organizations, both Hope4Humanity and the chesed trips hope to include all types of students, and show everyone new ways to help others.

The chesed trip is not merely about leaving school for a few days and partaking in fun activities, though certainly that happens. it is about discovering what chesed means to you personally, while bonding and creating a connection with your classmates. I know that I personally have developed a deeper love and appreciation for the abundance of non-profit organizations around the world whose members take time out of their days and their lives to help others.

And at same time, I know that I have also made friends that will remain my best friends for life. That doesn’t diminish the value of the chesed trips. It increases it.

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