What Makes A Community?

What Makes A Community?

During this short week of Jewish Enrichment in Center City, we shared our own Rosh Hashanah celebrations and gave thought to the question: what makes up a community?

Some kiddos in Garinim thought that a community was:

  • A school or afterschool
  • A group of people, plants, and animals
  • A school inside of a school

How do we make a community?

  • Plant trees
  • Keep the environment clean
  • Take care of the space
  • Bring presents like new legos
  • Give gifts based on the specific people who are part of the community and their interests

How can we welcome someone who is new to a community?

  • Say, “Welcome!”
  • Say, “Hi! Do you want to be my friend?”
  • Show them where to go.
  • Talk to them about the community.
  • Hugs! 

What are things we need while we’re at Makom Community that we can help each other get?

  • Fire hydrants and other physical safety equipment
  • Fidget tools
  • Blankets and pillows and cozy things
  • Manners
  • Space to talk and listen
  • Trust each other
  • Brit agreements about how we treat each other

After brainstorming this list together, kiddos had the opportunity to build, draw, or act how we help each other get these needs met. Two kiddos put on a very sweet dramatic representation of asking each other to play and setting up a favorite board game. One kiddo built a fire hydrant out of legos. Another kiddo drew a picture of her favorite cozy spots and materials.

After reading The Big Orange Splot and brainstorming about community, our Shorashim learners reflected on what would be in their ideal community, and mapped out their dream home or community with markers and giant paper. We were struck that within each table group, common themes or aesthetics emerged; kids created dream houses that seemed to be in communication with those of the people directly around them. For example, one table drew houses or structures that were based on animal or other natural forms, while another drew brightly colored, patterned houses. Many kids made homes on wheels, or with wings that could move. There were many differences in kids’ designs: some neighborhoods looked neat, and some chaotic, some had huge houses, and others tiny condos. Some decided to make their homes resistant to climate change, or include a magical hospital that can keep anyone alive. Some made flavored drinkable lakes. A house might take care of the habitat around it in some way, or be a rescue robot.  Across the board, a lot of thought was given to creating homes or communities that promote sustainability and well-being for the people who live there. 

Nitzanim kicked off the day with a reading of Bone Button Borscht, a story about working together as a community, as we related it to this week’s text. Kiddos shared different communities that they are a part of, including their neighborhoods, schools, Makom, and our Nitzanim group itself! We then made our own Nitzanim “Bone Button Borscht” where kiddos came up with their own ingredients for what makes a community. After writing ingredients like friendship, trust, and honesty, each kiddo added them to our Community Borscht. Nitzanim also started our Taschlich garden, in which we wrote things we want to leave behind as we enter the new year on pieces of paper, and dipped them in water to fade/wash away. These will be made into flower shapes and hung up in our room, as a reminder of what we want to work on as we grow in the new year. 

We reflected on what holy meant to us and one kiddo said, ““If you go to a place and make memories there, then it is holy. When you go back to that place, it’s still holy”.

It was so amazing to hear and see what our learners thought about what community meant to them. We can’t wait to see what next week has in store!

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