Generation to Generation

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our students asked a question that is core to their Rashi student experience: “Who in our kehillah (community) needs support and what can we do to have a meaningful impact?”

Their thoughts turned to their neighbors and friends, residents of NewBridge On The Charles, on ​the 162-acre multigenerational campus shared by Rashi and Hebrew Senior Life. In collaboration with the Rashi and Newbridge staff multigenerational partnership team,  Grade 6 students chose to write letters to the residents to let them know that they were not alone.

“Who in our kehillah (community) needs support and what can we do to have a meaningful impact?”

While our students expected nothing in return, the responses that many received were moving and spoke to the value of connection during this time.

Below is a letter that Grade 6 student Ben G. sent and the replies he received.

Interspersed are photos that highlight the Rashi/Newbridge partnership and the value we put on learning across generations.


Dear Newbridge Friend,

My name is Benjamin. I am a sixth grader at the Rashi school, and I am in quarantine just like you. It may seem boring at first, but there’s a lot that I’ve been up to. I’ve been keeping busy doing my classes for school, and running around outside always makes me sleepy. I am at home with my mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa, and we are all doing well. I am 12 years old, and love movies. I especially love comedies. In addition, I love to play video games. I could sit down in front of the tv and play all day. It’s been difficult processing all the information about what’s going on in the real world, but I’m doing my best. I’m taking everything one day at a time, and when something is bothering me, I talk to my friends, Jonah and Jacob. How are you doing? Where are you from? What do you like to do? I’d love to hear more about you. Here is my email if you’d like to keep in touch.

It’s been difficult processing all the information about what’s going on in the real world, but I’m doing my best. I’m taking everything one day at a time, and when something is bothering me, I talk to my friends, Jonah and Jacob. How are you doing? Where are you from? What do you like to do?

I hope you are doing well!

From,

Ben


Dear Ben,

Thank you so much for your note.  What’s it like to go to school on the computer? I can’t even imagine that. I am 90 years old and I just started learning about social distancing. Luckily, I am able to visit my family using the computer. In all my years, I’ve never experienced anything like this.

I was just a little older than you when I went on a big adventure with my mother and younger sister, Mary during World War II.  I was 14 years old and Mary was 11. My father had been working abroad for the Chinese embassy and Wellington Koo since I was young. Wellington Koo was serving as China’s ambassador to Great Britain.

I was just a little older than you when I went on a big adventure with my mother and younger sister, Mary during World War II. 

We traveled with 2 other families who were also making their way to London. We flew from Kunming, China over the Himalayan mountains to Calcutta, India. At that time, it was dangerous to fly over the Himalayas; many airplanes crashed and lives were lost. We were incredibly lucky to arrive safely in India. After 3 weeks in Calcutta, we went to Bombay by train. When we arrived, we couldn’t continue our journey to London by air because of the war going on (WWII). We ended up staying in India for 5 more months waiting for a ship to take us to England.

Stay safe and be well,   

Steve


Hello Ben,

You’re just in sixth grade and are very intelligent; you do great things with your family and that’s uncomplicated use of your time; you seem to have everything in the palm of your hands; you also have a great attitude.

You are a busy man at 12. I received your wonderful letter and I know about the Rashi school. You’re just in sixth grade and are very intelligent; you do great things with your family and that’s uncomplicated use of your time; you seem to have everything in the palm of your hands; you also have a great attitude.

I am an old man, my name is Ted and I am a 93 years old retired lawyer, I practiced law for 50 years in Chicago then I moved to Boston to be closer to my sister my only living sibling. When I was younger I joined the army for a little over two years. It built my confidence and improved my whole outlook on life. It is one of the things I’m most proud of. I admire how you adjust to the situation you are in. Your problems makes you a stronger man even at your age.

When this pandemic is over I’d like to see you in person. Its easier for you to come. I’m 93 and that’s not “chopped liver”. Now I’d like to know what I can do to help when you are home-bound, you deal with it with such finesse and beauty. I’d also love for you to write back.

When this pandemic is over I’d like to see you in person…Now I’d like to know what I can do to help when you are home-bound, you deal with it with such finesse and beauty. I’d also love for you to write back.

My best wishes to you and your family, keep up the great work …

Best,

Ted


Over the course of their K-8 Rashi education, students and residents build authentic, lasting relationships. Through developmentally relevant training about social and medical aspects of aging, Rashi students of all ages develop skills to connect with seniors across Newbridge’s full continuum of care. Students spend time at Newbridge with residents on a regular basis, eating lunch, celebrating holidays, volunteering in the memory support unit, and spending time with residents one on one.

And it’s just as common to see Newbridge residents in the Rashi building, helping younger students with literacy, guest lecturing in a middle school  advanced math lesson, leading an art activity, or sharing their life experience at an all school assembly.

Click here to learn more about the Rashi and Newbridge on the Charles’ multigenerational campus.

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