A group of 9th grade students from Gann Academy worked tirelessly and enthusiastically by sorting through the array of materials deposited by individuals, synagogues, and schools at JCAM’s community Genizah located on the Baker Street Cemetery in West Roxbury.
JCAM takes the responsibility of collecting and burying worn out prayer books and other sacred materials containing the Hebrew Name of G-d each year for the Greater Boston Jewish Community. The Pultusker Cemetery Chapel houses the “shammot” until the yearly book burial in October. However, many of the items brought to the Genizah need to be organized and looked over. Superfluous materials such as plastic bags, used kippot, and items completely in English can be disposed of normally.
Assisted by Jeff Spitzer, Gann Academy’s Chair of the Department of Talmud and Rabbinics, the students discussed the importance of treating sacred materials with dignity and care as well as the significant parallel between books and trees. Excitedly, all of the students found a treasure trove of items in perfectly good condition that they happily took back with them to Gann Academy. At the end of their mitzvah service, the students were invited on a cemetery tour with JCAM’s Director of Educational Programming, Lisa Berenson and several students had an opportunity to visit the graves of their relatives, lending even more importance to an already meaningful day.
Mitzvah projects such as the Genizah clean up are very much appreciated and needed each year. If your school or synagogue is interested in a mitzvah project like this, please contact the JCAM office at 617-244-6509.
Thank you Gann Academy for your enthusiasm and willingness to help JCAM!