Old Westbury Hebrew students to give dreidels to the blind

Harrison Marder

Mindy Kremer, director of Youth Education and Family Engagement for the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation, will soon have helped provide dreidels containing braille Hebrew letters to blind and visually impaired students not just once, but twice.

This year, Kremer has teamed up with the Lighthouse Guild, a school in New York City for blind, visually impaired and deaf blind students with other disabilities, to give each one of the school’s 123 students specially designed dreidels made by students from the congregation’s religious school.

“[I] wanted [the] kids to do something that was hands on and unique,” Kremer said. “[I wanted them to] give someone something they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Several years ago, when Kremer was the Religious School director at the Little Neck Jewish Center, she said, she spearheaded the same project with the students at the center’s religious school.  

The project went so well in Little Neck, Kremer said, she decided to bring it to the students at the religious school at the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation.

Approximately two weeks ago, Kremer said, she got in contact with Dr. Linda Gerra, the head of school at the Lighthouse Guild, to tell her about the project.

“[Gerra] was so delighted,” she said. “[She] welcomed it with open arms.”

Throughout this week, Kremer said, the congregation’s religious school students will craft more than 123 dreidels, all with braille Hebrew letters, that will be given to the students at the Lighthouse Guild during Hanukkah.

The congregation’s religious school students can decorate the wooden dreidels however they want, and are eager to be involved in the project, Kremer said.

“I think they are going to be so [excited],” Kremer said. “I think it is going to be exciting and fun for them.”

Not all of the students at the Lighthouse Guild are Jewish, but Kremer said no matter their religious affiliation, they will be able to appreciate the dreidel.

She said non-Jewish students will be exposed to something they may never heard of, while Jewish students will gain a sense of belonging knowing someone cared to make them a dreidel to play with.

The project is appropriate for students of all ages and it perpetuates the idea of giving, something Kremer said she wants to encourage in younger students.

“I want them to think about how beautiful it is to do for others,” she said. “Every single age group is going to get something out of it.”

After implementing the project in Little Neck, Kremer said, she is looking forward to having success for a second time.

“I love the hands-on [element] of this,” she said. “[I want the students to experience] the beauty of giving to someone else and the feeling in your heart when you do that.”

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Harrison Marder

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