The Jewish Institute of Queens, also known as the Gymnasia school, had its students prepare Mishloach Manos gifts of food to be shared with Jewish children learning in public schools.
The project was held in collaboration with Chabad’s Release Time program that reaches out to public school students in the Queen borough and throughout New York.
“We see it as a win-win,” Shaina Blau, teacher and extra curricular director at the school, said about the project.
“We are reaching out to the 300 Jewish students in public school that are involved with Released Time, making their Purim special with the personal touch of a Purim card written by a young student just like them. And more then that, we are giving our students a chance to share the light that was shared with them and spread their knowledge to others.”
This is a theme that JIQ has been instilling in its students throughout the year. Students have been encouraged to ‘Share the Light’ with exciting contests encouraging them to teach their friends and family about the values they are learning in school.
“Many of our students have themselves been in public school and transferred over to JIQ. With the majority of our parent body Russian immigrants, about 80% of our students parents have not had a formal Jewish Education. We know that our students have so much to share with the people in their immediate surroundings,” said Mrs. B. Zvulonov, Judaic studies principal at JIQ.
Jacob Kuknariyev, a second grader at JIQ, was moved by this project. “I was in public school for 6 years!” he said. “I want to tell this boy that he should also go to a Jewish school.”
Another person involved said: “Following what the Rebbe has taught that ‘if you know Alef teach Alef,’ our students feel special that they have what to teach to other children just like them. Giving our students the gift of shlichus is a most rewarding experience, as we watch our students bask with Jewish pride and passion to make this world a better place.”