What this mitzvah project means to the children of Pardes Katz

Fri, 10/16/2015 - 3:35pm

Posted in: Special Events

By Marilyn Johns, project chair

Music Education has been a passion of mine for over 35 years.  This year I am celebrating 31 years as a music teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system, and 40 years as a Jewish music educator and performer. 

I have seen the positive impact music has on people’s lives, when they are given the opportunity to create their own music and play their own instrument. 

During our Jewish Women’s Renaissance Program (JWRP) trip to Israel, summer of 2014, the women from the “Tidewater group” spent the morning visiting Pardes Katz (our sister JCC).  After a tour of the center we were given the opportunity to help preschoolers with a craft that they were working on. 

There was a piano in the room, so I naturally had to open the lid to the piano and began to play.  The children and teachers sang along. 

Later that day, their vocal group of 15 11-year-olds sang several songs for us and they really touched my heart! 

I could tell that they were very serious about making sure that their performance was perfect.  Even though it was a hardship, the children’s parents were supportive when it came time to bring them to the center for practice. 

My visit to Pardes Katz ignited a desire to give more to their music program because the students were so enthusiastic and their teachers were working so hard to sustain the small program that they have.

It is my hope that you, and others in our community can donate lots of different kinds of playable instruments, sheet music, costumes, props, sound equipment, office supplies and/or money to put towards buying these things for them, and that we ship them over quickly for them to begin using!  The opportunities and materials provided for the children at Pardes Katz are things that these families don’t have access to otherwise.

It will give me great pleasure to know that by sending these items to Pardes Katz, the students will evolve through music and their love of music despite their difficult lives.

Join me for our community-wide 2nd Annual Mitzvah Day, Sunday, October 25, from 1:30 -4:30 p.m. at the Sandler Family Campus. We’ll be singing and working together in the spirit of tikkun olam—healing the world! There are other projects you can participate in that day, too, so sign up today, by clicking here!

Watch a video of Pardes Katz children performing for the Tidewater Young Adult Division of the UJFT Hineni mission trip in June, 2015!

If you can’t make it on Mitzvah Day, you can still help! Instruments and sheet music can be dropped off during regular operating hours at the front desk of the Simon Family JCC, 5000 Corporate Woods Dr., Virginia Beach. Please leave your name, so we can thank you!

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