This Friday, Bernard Zell students, faculty and staff will come together for our seventh annual Day of Service. Each year this special event highlights the changemakers and leaders within our community who have devoted themselves to performing acts of tikkun olam, while providing opportunities for our students to model this same menschlichkeit and learn how they too, can bring healing to our world.
Created in 2014 in memory of Dr. Alyson Horwitz's late husband, Judd Horwitz, the Bernard Zell Day of Service will honor his memory while bringing ruach to the work of giving tzedakah and lifting up those from underserved communities.
Using the theme, “Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah,” to guide our celebration, the entire school will join together for a kick-off ceremony at 9:30 a.m. that will feature remarks from former Head of School, Dr. Alyson Horwitz and a presentation from alumni Jake Herman '17 and Nathan Polonsky '23 on their relationship with Lurie Children’s Hospital. In the afternoon, we will continue with Shabbat lunch (create your signs now!) and the Bernard Zell Food and Books drive featuring Eddie the Eagle in our school parking lot. These inspirational speakers and good deeds will set the stage for a day committed to celebrating service to others. Browse the schedule below for this year's Day of Service!
1:30 p.m. | Dancing While Cancering (Lower and Middle School Students)
Led by Pammy Kramer, Founder of Dancing While Cancering. Write and create inspirational greeting cards and word searches for children affected by cancer.*Please see additional information about this event in the resources tab below.
2:00 p.m. | Share Our Spare (Lower and Middle School Students)
Led by Alex Goodfellow, Executive Director of Share Our Spare. Learn about the mission and work of Share Our Spare, take a virtual tour of the Sharehouse, then write happy and inspirational notes and drawings for families that go into Share Our Spare's clothing and newborn kits!
2:30 p.m. | The Anti-Cruelty Society (All Students)
Led by Elliott Serrano, Community Programs Manager at The Anti-Cruelty Society. Introduce your own pet or stuffed animal and then learn how to make dog toys from old t-shirts! Project may require adult help for younger students.
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. | Bernard Zell Drive for The Ark of Chicago, Lakeview Pantry and Open Books
Drop Off Instructions: Drive through the Bernard Zell parking lot, wave hi to Eddie the Eagle and drop off your donated items. Items must be readily available in the trunk of your vehicle and someone will take them for you.*Please see additional information about this event in the resources tab below.
Open Books (Items Needed) Open Books welcomes any sellable books in good condition. This includes fiction, nonfiction, craft books, cookbooks, children’s books and more! They also accept LPs, CDs, and DVDs in good playable condition. They are always in need of more high-quality children's titles.
Mask Making with Merav Ruthman (Lower and Middle School Students)
- Materials Needed: ½ in elastic (if you have it). If not, a t-shirt or knit/spandex mix fabric will work!
- 100% cotton fabric (i.e. sheet, pillow case, t-shirt)
- Sewing machine and thread OR needles and thread
Record an Audio Book with Open Books (All Grade Levels)
Greeting cards offer another fun and easy way to bring joy to kids battling cancer. Besides being an inspirational boost to a patient’s day, some families even display these cards on their hospital room door or shelves to brighten up the room!
Materials Needed: Construction Paper, Markers, Stickers
Optional: Coloring book (to cut out characters like princesses/superheroes/etc. and then include them on the cards)
Dos and Don'ts:
Use your imagination and stay positive!
Encouraging phrases like "you're amazing!" or "you're a shining star" or “have a great day!”
Jokes are great – you can look up jokes online while making the cards (even better when the jokes match the stickers!)
Create cards that provide children with something they can do (i.e. create a word find!), either alone or with a family member
Avoid religious references since we respect that patients are from many different religious and spiritual backgrounds
Avoid "get well soon" or "feel better" as a greeting- only because each child's situation is different
Avoid including personal information i.e. your full name, address or phone number
Avoid stickers/phrases/pictures that depict violent themes - we want to protect patients from images that might frighten them or given them an unsafe feeling while in the hospital
The Open Books team is looking to build some wonderful video content for our YouTube Channel, and we would love to have our volunteers and supporters submit video recordings of children's books that they want to share! This is a fantastic way to support literacy work and provide content for kids to view and enjoy. To submit a video, please review our guidelines & recommendations below, and fill out this form.
Guidelines for Video Submissions:
Film horizontally and make sure text is not mirrored.
Please make sure your phone/computer is stable, and not shaking, while filming (do not hold it or have someone else hold it while you are reading aloud).
Make sure you are not backlit, and viewers can see your face and the pages of the book.
Include one book per video. You may submit more than one video, but each clip should be one book only.
We recommend that you read stories meant for young children, and aim for a video length of 3-10 minutes.
To begin each video you submit, please begin with this script:
"Hi, I am [FIRST NAME] and I am a supporter of Open Books. Today I will be reading [TITLE] by [AUTHOR] illustrated by [ILLUSTRATOR, IF APPLICABLE], published by [PUBLISHER]."
Resources (if you do not have children's books at home):