Truly Better Together: Linking the Generations

May 3, 2018 – This was another amazing year for the Better Together eighth grade program, a partnership between Pardes Jewish Day School and the Bureau of Jewish Education. Better Together provides a creative opportunity for Pardes students to interact with older members of our Jewish community, as they hear about and learn from our seniors’ life’s experiences and rich heritage.  

The program brings together generations who may not otherwise have many opportunities to do so.  Participants bond through their unique interactions, month after month, from September through April.  As in past years, this year’s program enriched both young and old in a multitude of ways.

As part of the program, students entered the Better2Write Contest.  Each student wrote an essay highlighting their monthly experiences and their thoughts and ideas about our elderly.  The four Pardes students who received medals and Honorable Mention for their essays were: Rose Zach, Sammy Marks, Noa Birdt and Risa Farber. The winner of the Better2Write contest was Sydney Cohen.  Through her inspiring words, she wrote “I had the extraordinary privilege of spending time with Diane Brooks. Diane’s wisdom and insight have inspired me to take a deeper look into my own values and life. She has been able to pass down many lessons such as appreciating family, spending time laughing, and staying true to yourself.” Each of the participating seniors shared not only their Jewish history, but values and experiences to help the students in life.

During these lunchtime get togethers the generations participated in a variety of interesting activities which enabled participants to learn from each other and develop great relationships.  Seniors shared their sage advice at many of the sessions. Shirley from Pueblo Norte reminded students to “Think before you speak and always be friendly.”  Marilyn shared to “always learn as much as you can both informally and through school and religious sources.”  And Howard shared “If you don’t start, you’ll never finish.”

Tuesday, May 1st brought the teens, their parents, and the seniors together for their culminating event—a beautiful kosher dinner catered by Milk & Honey Cafe, where everyone said their goodbyes.  Peter Gordon, Head of School and Mitch Flatow, Assistant Head of School, both of the Pardes Jewish Day School and Linda Feldman of the Bureau of Jewish Education shared their insights into this special program announcing the continuation of Better Together for next year’s eighth graders.