In Tehillim, when singing the praises of Hashem, King David states “עולם חסד יבנה” the world is built on kindness which is at the heart of Jewish practice. There is one more way that you could creatively read the Passuk from Tehillim – the words עולם חסד יבנה can also be read as “ עולם חסד יבנה ” – Yavneh is a world of Chessed. Yavneh – our wonderful school – is a place where students are inspired to give of themselves, to get involved, to take action – to be part of the wider Jewish, Zionist and Australian community by giving and helping others. Giving a helping hand, making a positive change, and bringing happiness and warmth to others is the driving force of the Yavneh student body.
At the end of 2022 we saw the relaunch of our Community Service Program for our Secondary students, which was generously sponsored by Dr Abe and Marlene Zelwer in loving memory of the late Mania (z”l) and Chaskiel (z”l) Zelwer who were deeply committed to Chessed and service to the community. Our hope for this program is to instil in Yavneh students the values of helping, supporting and doing for others.
While each academic year is full and busy for our students, the inclusion of this important program will enable students to invest in the community that supports them, while also having the opportunity to learn new skills. “It will be the hours volunteered to help others that will often be the most memorable, the most fulfilling, and the greatest gift you can give yourself”, said Principal,
Shula Lazar, of the program. “We look forward to celebrating all that you give to our community and our country.”
Alongside this relaunch, the theme for Leibler Yavneh College in 2023 was Olam Chessed Yibaneh – Building Yavneh’s world of kindness. But what does it really mean to be kind, and why is it such an important value for our school community?
The science of kindness tells us that when one person does a singular act of kindness it has biological repercussions on the giver, receiver and even the witnesses. Each person feels uplifted, confident and more willing to give to others. If one act of kindness can inspire 3 people – then, surely they each inspire 3 more acts of kindness, which, in turn, inspires at least 9 people. Those 9 people go on to inspire another 81 people. Consider the exponential growth of kindness worldwide.
But kindness isn’t always obvious.
It’s a commitment to making the world a better place because of your actions. And this is where the theme of Olam Chesed Yibaneh comes in. The Hebrew word “Yibaneh” means “building,” which is a crucial element of our theme. As a Yibaneh community, our focus should not only be on making our school a kinder place, but also on building a world of kindness. This concept extends beyond our immediate community and speaks to the broader impact we can have on the world.
Often you may hear that we should strive to be ‘citizens of the world’ – knowledgeable and capable of making a positive impact on the world. In Olam Chessed Yibaneh, the citizens of the world have a special name. They are known as Menschen. They can be identified by their smiles and by three distinct elements;
These are the pillars on which Olam Chessed Yibaneh stands and the key characteristics of our Yavneh menschen.
Community Service – As a school community, we are committed to helping the world in any way we can. This year, we will support our menschen to take on voluntary contributions within the community, whether through random acts of kindness or scheduled work with community organisations. We believe that each student has the strengths and energy to make a positive footprint in Olam Chessed Yibaneh, and we are here to help support and guide them along the way. Throughout the year, we will celebrate and recognise the efforts of our students who volunteer through regular updates at assemblies and other special events. Guest speaker opportunities will provide inspiration and guidance for all students to get involved and make a positive impact in the community. Our hope is that through these efforts, our students will be inspired to make an impact and give back to the community.
Inclusivity: As menschen, we place great value on inclusivity and community-building. A perfect example of this is the beautiful Friday night Onegs, where all members of a year level are invited to come together for a night of fun and celebration. These events provide an opportunity for students to connect, build relationships and form a strong sense of community, which is a cornerstone of our school culture. Our menschen welcome new students and support those who need a boost. No matter the circumstance, everyone is always invited. Those who need it are invited personally. They are made to feel they belong and can connect with the Yavneh family.
Kindness in Language and Action: The language of our world at Yavneh is key to the culture we create. Our school community creates a sense of belonging by asking others how they are doing, showing empathy and being there for each other in difficult times. We understand that, sometimes, a simple act of kindness or a few words of encouragement can make all the difference in someone’s day. By being kind in our words and actions, we create a world where everyone feels supported, valued and respected. Our language can cultivate a culture of kindness and empathy, thereby making a positive impact on the world around us.
In conclusion, the theme of Olam Chessed Yibaneh is a powerful reminder that our actions have a profound impact on the world around us. By committing to kindness in language, inclusivity and community service, we can build a better world – not just for ourselves, but for everyone. As citizens of Olam Chessed Yibaneh, we have a special responsibility to create a culture of kindness that extends beyond our school and into the broader community.