Silverstein Hebrew Academy presents ‘Makings of a Mentsch’ award

Silverstein Hebrew Academy presents ‘Makings of a Mentsch’ award
Rabbi Ezagui awarding Joseph Nekava, Grade K, with the Mentsch Award for showing kindness and Midot Tovot. (Photo courtesy of the Silverstein Hebrew Academy)

Educators at the Silverstein Hebrew Academy, or SHA, in Great Neck, have recently created a new award that elementary school students can strive to win. The “Mentsch Award” will be given out every Friday throughout the school year.

In the Jewish culture, a Mentsch is somebody whom every adult aspires to be—it is a person who respects Jewish values and models kindness, empathy, and resilience.

“To be a Mentsch takes a lot of work,” Shireen Deen Butman, Head of School at SHA said. “It takes a significant amount of training, coaching, modeling, and encouraging.”

The students look forward to the revealing of the award winner all week and even remind each other to use proper vocabulary that would be used by a Mentsch.

Elementary staff, together with SHA administration, created the Mentsch Award Program to help develop the attributes the school believes all SHA graduates should have by the time they enter high school.

Every week classrooms role-play different scenarios and ask students how a Mentsch would behave or react. Students also have been supporting each other knowing teachers are on the lookout for students that exhibit Mentsch behavior.

“The goal of this award program is to foster a culture of respect within the SHA academic environment and school community,” Associate Head of School, Chanie Geisinsky, said. “Implementing programs like the Mentsch Award is part of SHA’s mission to promote a school-wide culture of acceptance and anti-bullying behavior.”

For more information on the Silverstein Hebrew Academy and programs for PreK through 8th-grade students, please call 516-466-8522 or visit

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