Midreshet Amit

Chesed End of Year Review - Paula Moskovitz AMIT 2011-12

1. What did you enjoy most about your chesed in the Beit Hayeled?
This is a really tough question because there are so many different areas. I really enjoyed the fact that we lived in the same building as the mishpachtons. I loved spending Shabbat with my family and enjoying the Shabbat environment with them. Day to day activities were fun but I really loved holidays and special events in which we were included.

2. What did you least enjoy about your chesed in the Beit Hayeled?
I least enjoyed the awkward moments at the beginning of the year. I knew that I wanted to form a relationship with the children but it was tough getting through the initial unfriendly stage. However, I persevered and ultimately came out with a fabulous time.

3. Describe your connection with the family you were assigned to and your relationship with the children, bat sherut and madrichim in that family?
In the beginning of the year I was extremely intimidated by the benot sherut and in the end I felt beyond comfortable with them. I had two of the sweetest girls working with me, Hodaya and Chamutal, both of whom are staying next year. I was embarrassed to use my Hebrew with them but soon realized that they were only there to help. It was equally difficult to say bye to them as it was to leave my children. I think that a relationship with the benot sherut girls is not stressed enough. By becoming close to them it made me feel more comfortable with my mishpachton.
My madrich spoke English so we bonded that way and it was great! We had a funny relationship and it was full of laughs. My madricha was such a soft spoken woman and I loved just talking about anything with her. I constantly came down after the kids went to sleep when they would be sitting in their living room and relaxing. This was a great time because they did not have to worry about the children and I could focus on connecting with the bnot sheruit and madrichim.
I was always in awe about how the children are so happy even though they have such difficult lives. We connected through many smiles and hugs. I had a special and different relationship with each child. I helped one girl in English which was a great way to break through her rough shell and by the end we were great friends! I always danced with two other girls during free time. I tried to play random games with the boys and get them to be less shy by making funny faces. Sometimes I helped the boys with homework too. I helped one girl with homework a bunch and usually she would snap at me. At the end of the year she wrote me a letter which thanked me for helping her even though she knew she was often moody. There are countless stories of how we bonded throughout the year.

4. What were your responsibilities during homework time?
I would walk in and say hi to the madrichim. Then I would go into each room and see who needed helped with homework. We would sit and I would read through the questions with the children. Some of them just wanted me to sit with them while they sped through problems while others needed me to help them understand the material. Since I want to be an elementary school teacher I felt that this hour really enhanced my teaching abilities.

5. What subjects did you feel you were able to help with?
I enjoyed learning tanach with the children because I learned it in Hebrew my whole life so it came more naturally. I also liked learning about holidays with the children. I assisted in math after I learned the proper Hebrew words that I needed to help and obviously helped children if they had English homework.

6. Did you usually work with the same child or different ones each time?
I tried to work with different children each time and did so by going around to every room. Sometimes I would do one assignment with one child and then spend the rest of homework hour with another. I wanted all of them to feel I was available to help.

7. After living in Beit Hayeled all year and volunteering in a specific family do you feel you have a better understanding of what the Beit Hayeled is all about?
Yes, I definitely have a better understanding of the Beit Hayeled. It is a place where a child is protected and I think that even though they constantly talk about home, the children understand that they are safer in Beit Hayeled. Beit Hayeled tries to create a family environment that the children do not have at home. When I spent Shabbat in Beit Hayeled I constantly felt that the mishpachton was a real family and the children were siblings. They are such a unit which is amazing because they come from such broken homes. Beit Hayeled does a fantastic job of creating the ultimate family environment.

8. Will you be keeping in touch with any of the children or staff at the Beit Hayeled?
I know that I will keep in touch with Golan's family and Yeela. They have impacted me tremendously and I have their email so it should work out. I also have my madrichim's email and I am friends with the bnot sheruit on Facebook. It is difficult to keep in touch with my children because they are younger and do not speak English. I know that I will keep in touch with Yeela because we can email and talk on the phone and everything. I hope to visit the children next winter break and have a wonderful time with them, but I don't see how I can communicate with them while I am in America.

9. Did you enjoy chugim and what contributions did you feel you made during that time?
I loved that I met girls from different mishpachtons during chugim. It was enjoyable to see them around the building and say hi. I think that together with Gabi we made the chug fun and enjoyable with interesting projects.

10. What words of wisdom would you want to pass on to future students to help make their chesed placement successful and rewarding?
You cannot give up! It is really awkward and tough sometimes but in the end it is worth it. Speak the Hebrew that you know and continue to take in more throughout the year. It is not easy even if you do know Hebrew. Spend a ton of time with the children even if it means your free time. The more you hang out with them the more you become a part of their lives. They will feel more comfortable around you and you around them. Tuck them into bed. They have the cutest bedtime routine with Shema and other songs. The more you put in the more you get out. You don't know which one of your actions will impact a child so just keep hanging out with them. And remember to always smile!