NY State Senate Passes Bill, written by Simcha Felder, to Provide Academic Credit for Chesed Hours
By Yehudit Garmaise
What if yeshiva students received academic credit for all the training they receive in improving their middos and performing acts of chesed?
The New York State Senate today passed a bill, written by and long-promoted by State Sen. Simcha Felder, that gives students academic credit for regularly performing acts of kindness.
“Let’s say students visit sick people or elderly people for two or three hours a week,” Sen. Felder. “Maybe other students shoveled snow for neighbors or performed other activities that were not ‘educational’ in the same way that classroom lessons are, those activities still provide a beautiful education in kindness that deserve credit.”
Sen. Felder told BoroPark24 that the bill says, “Yes, children have to sit in classrooms and learn, but providing academic credit for chesed hours shows that learning how to give to others is just an important part of education as learning math and logic.
“Students who regularly perform chesed of whatever kind should be able to get academic credit toward graduation. It would be wonderful to put some emphasis on learning how to perform acts of kindness as part of a child’s education.”
Sen. Felder hopes that his bill will highlight yeshivas’ values of good middos, chesed, and morality that remain outside the New York State’s Department of Education’s ways of measuring what it called, “substantive equivalency.”
Sen. Felder said that public schools also should provide academic credit for students who regularly perform acts of kindness.
While the New York Department of Education has said it will send public school teachers to assess the secular education of yeshivas, what if yeshivas send rebbes and morahs to public schools to determine how much students were learning about middos and chesed, one askan wondered.