This year, Kitah Hay – 5th grade has been on a path of service in the context of Jewish learning. For their final project, they dedicated themselves to researching & addressing a cause through charitable actions.
Click on each group’s project tab below to learn more…
- Climate Change
- Every Pet's Dream
- Second Harvest
- Humane Society of SV
- Women's Empowerment
- Family Support Services
- Good Karma Bikes
- Jewtina / Olamim
Dear Yavneh Families,
Our names are Noah and Oliver. We are committed to helping stop climate change in small ways that can make a big difference. Around the world, climate change is making a big impact, even if we cannot see it. Climate change has many effects, such as melting glaciers, drought, and fires. This is not the type of world we want to live in. If we do not do anything about this soon, our world will be filled with dirty air, and many majestic animals will go extinct. We must do something about this soon, or else our world will be a dying wasteland.
In Kohelet Rabbah 7:13:1, it says: “When the Holy One…created Adam the first man…He said to him:…‘Make certain that you do not ruin and destroy my world as if you destroy it, there will be no one to mend it after you.’” This means that if we don’t address this problem soon, the world today will not be the world of tomorrow. This is the world that was given to us and there is only one of it, so let’s take care of it!
To address this cause, we are going to lead a daily cleanup after lunch each day with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders until the end of the year. This will help climate change because it will limit the amount of litter, which saves animals. Additionally, we want to help Vasona. Vasona Lake, a county park extremely close to Yavneh, is an enjoyable place that many people in the Los Gatos area appreciate greatly. Unfortunately, Vasona’s lake and park areas are being polluted by trash. This could make Vasona an unclean area where animals and nature cannot thrive. We want to fix this problem. If you want to volunteer at Vasona to stop the pollution and help out, click the button below and volunteer!
Oliver & Noah
Hello Yavneh Community,
Our names are Lea and Nitzan. We are working on finding homes for dogs because we know that nearly 1 million dogs get abused every year. This matters because animals have feelings and souls, just like people. They deserve to live and be treated well, not like they’re just some creature that doesn’t matter. Nitzan has a dog named Athena, who was abused when she was a puppy. A year ago, you wouldn’t have even been able to get close to her without Athena running away. When Nitzan’s family got Athena from a farm, you could tell that her life was instantly going to be better.
Judaism teaches that animals are God’s creation and should be treated with compassion. We are commanded to avoid “tzar baalei chayim” – “causing pain to any living creature.” (Rel. BBC) Every living creature deserves to live a fulfilled life. It would be wonderful if you joined us in helping dogs even with small actions. It would lighten up a dog’s whole life!
For our service week, we are hanging up posters about the organization Every Pet’s Dream. They will feature some dogs from EPD’s shelter that are up for adoption, and the link to find them. We are also making an announcement at Shabbat about our service project. You can help by donating or adopting to Every Pet’s Dream through the button below. You can also help by performing small acts of kindness like leaving food for stray dogs, helping them to the vet, or raising awareness. This will encourage people that animal cruelty isn’t the right thing. Helping is the better way, always.
Nitzan & Lea
Hello Yavneh Community,
My name is Eva. My 5th Grade classmates and I are doing individual service projects in Jewish Studies. I chose to do a food drive and donate the food that I collect to Second Harvest. Since the pandemic, the price of food has gone up, which then means families that were already having a hard time supporting each other may find it almost impossible to get access to healthy food. Over 460,000 people rely on Second Harvest to get them food each month!
In the Torah G-d says, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.” (Genesis 1:29).
I think this means that everyone should be able to have access to good food. For a lot of people, Second Harvest is that fruit-bearing tree that provides them with access to food. The reason why it’s important to donate food to Second Harvest is because they rely a lot on food donations to provide people with healthy nutritious food.
From Monday, May 22 to Friday, May 26, I will have a donation box in the front lobby where you can donate canned food. Any amount of food you donate will help a family—even one can of beans would give a family one meal! If you prefer doing face-to-face work, you can click the button below, which leads to Second Harvest’s volunteer page. You can look at the activities and sign up to be there and participate. I hope I have convinced you to start taking action and help out.
Hello Yavneh Families,
My name is Mayah and I am in 5th grade. I am working on helping a specific shelter’s cats, dogs and other kinds of animals. This matters to me because I love all animals, and some animals are not taken care of properly. According to the ASPCA Census, because of this, states like New Mexico, Idaho, Montana and Nevada have to build more shelters to fit all of the abandoned animals. It is time we take better care of our pets!
In Judaism, there is a midah called Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim or animal cruelty.
“If you see the donkey of your enemy straining under his load, and you refrain from unloading it, go and unload with him” (Shemot 23:5). Even though a person may be your enemy, it is not your enemy you are helping; it is the donkey. Even though the donkey is not “your” animal it is your Lord’s animal so technically it is your responsibility to save it.
On Friday, May 19th, I will be putting up posters around the school promoting the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. This organization is set on rescuing pets and giving them a better life. The button below links to the HSSV homepage, where you can find forms for pet adoption, volunteering and fostering. I will also be placing big buckets in the lobby where you can donate pet toys & pet items that are new or still usable. Please donate! (No food donations, please!)
Thank you for reading! Now, let’s change the animal world!
Hello Yavneh Community,
Our names are Ilana, Lilah & Tova from fifth grade. This year, we are doing service projects to help our community. Our cause is Women’s Empowerment. Women’s Empowerment means helping women gain strength and confidence in themselves, because women face hate and doubt every single day from people that say they’re not strong enough. There is more to this than just people doubting women—people are trying to take control over women’s bodies. Women should be able to be in control of their own bodies. So why do other people get to choose what our (womens) bodies do? Why can’t we be in control of our bodies?
In Proverbs 31:10-31, it says, ״She rises while it is still night.” These words represent ALL women. Even at night when she’s tired from working and being doubted all day; she still will rise. She will stay strong. Judaism does believe in women—that they are strong and that women do matter.
How are we going to help? Well we found an organization called Planned Parenthood. This organization focuses on helping women find access to “reproductive healthcare.” They work to build confidence in girls and women. They believe our bodies are our own and that women should have more rights! These people get hate every single day for what they do, but we want to support them. We will be making a huge “thank you” card and collecting signatures. You can choose to sign your name or/and write a note to P.P. so that when we go to visit them, they will know how much we appreciate them! We will also have posters all around the school where you can scan a QR code to donate to their website! A button is also included below. We hope you can help women achieve equality.
Lilah, Tova, and Ilana.
Hello Yavneh Community,
Our names are Oren and Vlad. We are in 5th grade. We want to support FSSBA (Family Support Services). Their main focus is to take care of children, youth, and parents in need. They additionally help people experiencing poverty and people with disabilities that affect their mental and physical health. If you’re thinking, “Why would I care about all of that?”, imagine yourself in their place. Being in that position of poverty and neglect, especially for your entire childhood, is going to change the way you think and live.
In Leviticus 19:14 it says “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.” This verse shows that you shall not try to hurt people in need of help or in need of special care. It then adds, “You shall fear your god: I am יהוה.” This shows that God was not asking a favor, but stating a command. In Leviticus 19:18 it says, “You shall love your fellow as yourself.” It means that you should love everybody.
FSSBA makes a big impact in the Bay Area. We ask that you click the button below and read about it. This organization is important because most of the kids don’t have enough social and economic support to live a happy balanced life. If this organization is not going to have enough support then they can’t help other kids.
Oren and Vlad
Hello Yavneh Community!
My name is Ayal Feinstein, and I am a 5th grade student. This year, part of the Jewish Studies curriculum is to complete an independent community service project and support a cause. My cause is contributing to reducing traffic on the road and into other forms of transportation that are better for the community & the environment. Right now, as you all probably know from personal experience, more and more traffic is piling up on highways, roads, and even city streets! Meanwhile, public transportation operators like Caltrain are being forced to shorten trains because of decreased ridership. For the first time in years, trains on the Caltrain line are appearing with only four cars, and the few six-car trains that were put together two years ago are now gone. If you don’t like delays on your daily commute, and you care about decreasing pollution, you can help by considering other forms of transportation instead of your car.
And, there is even a Jewish connection I found from the book of psalms:
לַֽה’ הָאָ֣רֶץ וּמְלוֹאָ֑הּ תֵּ֝בֵ֗ל וְיֹ֣שְׁבֵי בָֽהּ׃
Translated by sefaria, this means:
“The earth is the LORD’s and all that it holds,
the world and its inhabitants.”
If you want to think about this from an environmentalist’s perspective, this means that we need to protect the earth. We can do that by trying out less polluting forms of transportation throughout our daily life. If you want to help the world and arguably, yourself, I think these options might work for you.
First of all, a fast way to get around that is better for the environment then individual cars is riding public transportation. While one train itself isn’t as good for the environment as a car, having one train is better than having 200 cars on the road. This also means that for people who don’t have access to public transit, the roads are clearer. And, train fares are usually cheaper than paying for a California gas bill, because gas prices in California are high all the time. However, there is a problem. Busses and trains might not actually have stops near your house, and even if they do, they might not get you to your destination. But, there is another option.
Bikes are a fun way to both get around and get exercise. With an increasing number of bike trails and bike lanes, getting from place to place by bicycle is getting easier by the year. For example, just blocks away from Yavneh is the Los Gatos Creek Trail. Going from Willow Glen and Downtown San Jose, it gets you all the way to Lexington Reservoir in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
I hope you can start using these alternative options throughout your daily life. But if your area is not very good for biking or it is hard to get to public transportation from you house, I would like you to consider another option:
Good Karma Bikes is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing bike transportation to people who can not afford it. Depending on the size of your donation, you can give anything from a free bike to a whole month of free programs to help people repair their bikes! Feel free to explore the website which is linked here. I will also be making buttons to encourage people to ride more public transportation, which I will give out when they are completed.
Hello Yavneh Community,
My name is Flora and I’m a Jewish latina. My service project is to support organizations who are raising awareness on the importance of finding a sense of belonging for Latinx Jewish families in the Bay Area. I feel like many people who have multiple identities like me, feel like they must choose between two different versions of themselves.
Why is it important to focus on the Latinx Jewish experience? Because as a latina and as a Jewish person, I want to inspire children who look like me to find a place where they can be all of who they are. What inspired me to focus on this cause was that as a family we are always talking about the importance of honoring all parts of our identity that make up the totality of who we are. Identities can coexist.
I was invited to participate in the first Latinx Jewish festival that was held at Urban Adama in Berkeley on April 30th. My mom and I created a project called “Yoganimal” to inspire kids who speak Spanish to practice yoga with fun songs and stories. The festival celebrated families like mine that are multicultural, multilingual and that share the experience of being jewish. We had a booth where kids would come to ask questions. Later we had the opportunity to teach a Yoganimal class and it was so rewarding to see so many families participating by singing to our music and learning how to move their bodies inspired by the cards we made.
I also had the opportunity to interview Analucia Lopezrevoredo, who is the founder of Jewtina and who spoke to me about the importance of creating spaces for Jewish Latinx families where they can feel a sense of belonging and honor the achievements of people like us who hold multiple identities in the world.
Did you know that Jewish and Latina communities share a Heritage Month (and the Jewish High Holidays)? What a great opportunity to celebrate all parts of who we are! I am here to invite you to check out and donate to the organizations linked at the bottom of this letter that are focused on the Latinx-Jewish experience. They create a space where many of us fit just right in; where we can speak spanglishbrew, celebrate “el dia de los niños” and purim with the same excitement, and where we feel like we are enough!
A huge thank you to all of the people that made these projects possible!
All field trip drivers & chaperones
All parents facilitators & inspirators
Humane Society of Silicon Valley
The Class of 2026