The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Akiva's First Graders Turn Lemons into Lemonade for Israel

In the spirit of the timeless adage, when faced with challenges - in this case, the recent conflict in Israel - students at Akiva turned lemons into sweet lemonade. 

Upon learning about the unfolding situation in Israel, Akiva first-grader, Natalie Berneman, wasted no time in rallying her classmates together in a remarkable display of positivity. In a heartening initiative that spanned a week, the young students, alongside their supportive parents, made and sold lemonade to their Akiva peers and faculty. 

When asked about the decision to use lemonade sales as a fundraiser, Natalie explained, “I knew that kids at Akiva were feeling sad and that people in Israel needed help. Selling lemonade made my friends at school happy, and the money helped people in Israel.” 

Jessica Yousem, a first-grade teacher at Akiva, highlighted that the entire concept was driven by the students themselves. “The first graders approached me with a desire to make a difference, and presented a clear idea and detailed plan,” she shared. In just four days, the first-grade class raised an impressive total of over $1,000. Yousem noted that she is “not at all surprised by this class’s motivation to make this happen,” adding, “These kids have the kindest hearts, and they are always looking for ways to help and support the school community.” 

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First grade students and parents make lemonade to sell in support of Israel. 

As the lemonade stand folds its tables and packs away its pitchers, the impact of this initiative lingers in the hearts of those touched by the generosity of Akiva’s students. These young children have shown that a small act of kindness, fueled by genuine empathy, can create ripples of positive change that resonate far beyond the classroom. Akiva Head of School Rabba Daniella Pressner notes, “The outpouring of love and support of so many of the children during this difficult time has been remarkable. Our children have demonstrated the profound power of love and care in the darkest moments.” 

Natalie’s explanation echoes the sentiment that guided this endeavor: turning lemons into lemonade. Akiva students illustrate that even in challenging times, the collective efforts of a caring community can transform hardship into a source of inspiration and strength. 

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