Gan Katan is bringing students of a different kind into the Washington and Lee Jewish community. Once a month, children ages two to ten gather at Hillel House to make crafts, sing songs, and read stories with Washington and Lee students. The goal of the program is to teach the children about their Jewish roots and culture.
Instructors Hailey Glick '19, Jordan Goldstein '18, and Laura Wiseman '16 say Hamotzi with Ruthie and Dylan. The beuatifuk challot, as well as the challah covers, were made by the kids.
Professor Jemma Levy, whose two children participate in Gan Katan, explains the significance for all involved. Speaking on the benefits to her children, Professor Levy says, “They get very little Jewish cultural education and don’t exactly realize that other people, besides their mom, are Jewish. It’s good for them to see that there are other kids like them.”
Gan Katan certainly benefits the younger participants, but W&L students also reap rewards from the program. As Professor Levy says, “Teaching other people forces you to understand the material better yourself.”
More than anything, Gan Katan benefits the Hillel community as a whole. “At Hillel services, you see professors and students, and that’s about it. Having this younger generation shows that our community has a future. It strengthens all of us to realize that the community will live on,” Professor Levy says.
In the following months and years, Gan Katan hopes to grow in numbers, providing cultural education to the children of the Lexington community, giving them a place of their own in which to explore their history and grow amongst friends