Children at Haddon Primary & Nursery School in Carlton learn all about Chanukah with the help of Rabbi Mendy

  • News
  • Posted on: January 7, 2022
  • Partnership: Flying High Partnership

Children at Haddon Primary & Nursery School are accustomed to learning about a diverse range religious faiths and cultures as part of their curriculum. But this week learning became especially fun with a visit from a local Rabbi and his family, along with a dancing dreidel to explore the Jewish custom of Chanukah.

A group of children with a Rabbi standing around a Menorah

Nina Capek is Head Teacher at the Carlton based school and said, “At Haddon a core part of our curriculum is preparing children for life as 21st century citizens who will have the privilege of living in communities and working with people from very diverse backgrounds. One of the school’s core DREAM values is respect, and we believe that respect comes from understanding; this is why we prioritise teaching about all of the different religions.”

Nina said the visit saw children learning about the origins of Chanukah and how it is observed today. “It is always a privilege to welcome people from different faiths into school as it is important for children to meet and learn about people and their traditions and beliefs, -all very much alive and being practiced in Britain today.

“Rabbi Mendy and his family ensured that the children all learnt about the fun festival of Chanukah and the reason Jewish people celebrate it. We are always so proud of how respectful and interested our children are when learning about different festivals and customs and they were really excited to share their knowledge and ask questions.”

During the assembly children also had a surprise visit from a dancing dreidel! A dreidel is similar to a spinning top and plays a role in the story of Chanukah.

Rabbi Mendy Lent said he and his family enjoyed sharing the story with children. “It was a delight to be able to share the history and customs of Chanukah with the children at Haddon Primary School. Often children will be taught some observances of different faiths in RE, but it resonates entirely differently when it is experiential, and they can hear the history in a fun way.

“Those 200 plus children can then inform their friends and families and before long thousands of people have discovered new knowledge about others. What better way to reduce racism and xenophobia than a ground up approach?”

Rabbi Mendy says the story itself promotes tolerance and understanding. “It is fitting that a primary message of Chanukah is allowing others to practice their faith in peace and not imposing your beliefs and practises on others. We are always welcomed by the forward-thinking leadership at Haddon, and it is always a real pleasure to come here.”

Pupil Isabella Danyluk-Rose, age 10 said, “I really enjoyed the assembly. We have been learning about Chanukah and the history. I am pleased I know about it and think that when Christmas comes each year, I will remember that Jewish people will be celebrating Chanukah.” Sienna Staniforth, age 10, agreed, “I like to learn about lots of different faiths. I think that everyone should be able to have their own religions and be able to practice it and that people shouldn’t stop them because it wouldn’t be fair.”

Head Teacher Nina Capek said it’s an important message and one she hopes all of the children understand. “We hope that by inviting people of different backgrounds and religions into school to talk proudly about their beliefs, that this will give our Haddoners the confidence to be proud of who they are too.”

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