“GEMZ”, a new joint intergenerational initiative is strengthening existing links between The Fed and KD Primary.æ Devised by the school’s Head of Hebrew Studies, Mr. Sammy Morhaim, and developed with Jennifer Berger ofæ Heathlands Village, GEMZ brings small groups of children to the home very week.æ During their lunch-time, they come and “schmooze” with the residents.æ According to Mr. Morhaim,

KD's Sammy Morhaim with Raymond Myers and Max Libbert
KD’s Sammy Morhaim with Heathlands Resident, Raymond Myers, and visitor, Max Libbert

“GEMZ aims to give young children and the elderly an experience that will help to fill the generation gap. Over the year all 56 pupils in year 5 will take part at least once.

My father-in-law, Josh Neumann, has long been involved in running the shul at Heathlands Village, and through him I began to take my own children there.

From a very young age they’ve been really at ease around older people and you can see how the interaction gives the residents such pleasure and, importantly, makes them feel significant.

This inspired me to bring the children I teach into contact with residents too. Giving to others is an essential part of their Jewish education and not something you can teach in the classroom.

They are learning that they can make a big difference to someone’s day by doing something very little.

The project helps to make the kids feel good about themselves – this can be especially important for those who struggle academically.

They were fascinated when one lady told them how from the age of 7 she would walk ten minutes to school on her own.”

Louie Anderson, who is seen here with Edna Nevitt, wrote about his visit:

Louis talking animatedly to resident, Edna

“I would recommend my brother Sonny to go to Heathlands because I really think he would learn loads of interesting facts … and be able to chat to the older people which I really enjoyed.”

Louie’s mum, Mel, added,

“He came home really excited. He was blown away and told me he wants to give up some of his own time to chat to or help the people who live there. I had an overwhelming sense of pride in him. Please G-d he will be able to continue this mitzvah.*”

*Good deed.