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Middle school-age students invited to take part in a Judaic art program at the J

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The Weinstein JCC will host an interactive, and collaborative Judaic art program open to 6th-8th graders this fall.

The program will take place on two Sundays, Oct. 9 and 16 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. All middle schoolers are welcome!

The JCC’s new Youth and Family Community Engagement Coordinator Holly Markhoff, along with middle school parent Millie Becker, will facilitate the program. As an artist and a Jewish educator, Holly will guide the middle schoolers to create a meaningful, collaborative, Judaic art piece. The art piece will be based on the concept of the Tzedek Box Project created by HUC Rabbinical student, Andrew Kaplan Mandel. Tzedek is the Hebrew word for righteousness, or Justice.

Based on Mandel’s concept, the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum in New York City, will premiere the exhibit “Tzedek Boxes” in January, which includes a piece by Markhoff.

The Dr. Bernard Heller Museum Describes the Tzedek Box as “a new Jewish ceremonial object for a new ritual aimed at encouraging us to answer the Jewish call for justice.

When we complete a meaningful act of social justice, we write a diary entry about the experience and insert it into a Tzedek Box. This ritual regularly prompts us to reflect on what we have learned — and what we still need to do — as we seek to build a more just world.”

During our Weinstein JCC’s collaborative creation of a Tzedek Box, the 6-8th graders will be guided to form their own concepts of social justice, while identifying and personalizing how acts of social justice can respond to this year’s Global Day of Jewish Learning theme of rebuilding.

The Tzedek Box piece will offer ongoing community interaction and will be presented and displayed during this year’s Global Day of Jewish Learning, hosted locally at the Weinstein JCC on Nov. 13.  At that time, our community will be invited to interactively submit entries of recent acts of social justice into the Tzedek Box.

Following the Global Day of Jewish Learning, the Tzedek Box will be moved to the Virginia Holocaust Museum where more entries are encouraged to be submitted and then ceremonially read on Yom HaTzedek.

As the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum further explains: “Once a year on Yom HaTzedek, we open the box and review its contents as a form of sacred accountability.”

Middle school students who are interested in participating in this special art project may register online at www.weinsteinjcc.org. The program is free, but registration is required, and students can earn community services hours for their participation.

In addition, the JCC is actively seeking parents of middle school-aged kids who are interested in participating on an advisory group.

This group will help to guide the JCC in its effort to reinvigorate middle school programming to include opportunities for community service, leadership and socializing with other Jewish youth within the Richmond community.

If interested, please contact Millie Becker at milliesbecker5@gmail.com or Holly Markhoff at hmarkhoff@weinsteinjcc.org.

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