Austin Jewish Academy’s Knesset has designated the week of Purim as “Pay It Forward for Purim” week at AJA. The Knesset was motivated by the inspiring Pay It Forward movement, which is has swept the nation since 2000, following the release of the book by that title written by author Catherine Ryan Hyde.
The premise of the novel rests on one person doing an act of loving kindness for another person, without any expectation of being paid back. Rather, the person requests that the recipient of that deed do something good for someone else. “It feels really great,” said Knesset President Max Krys, “to help our school community to become involved in this type of project. It’s so different from anything we’ve done before.”
The Knesset distributed two “AJA Pays It Forward for Purim” cards to each student and faculty member. As an act of kindness is performed, the card is passed on to the recipient, who in turn, performs an act of kindness for someone else, and so on. The Knesset determined that the week of Purim would be a fitting time of the year in which to focus on the concept of giving, and the Jewish teaching from Pirkei Avot: Mitzvah goreret mitzvah: one mitzvah leads to another mitzvah. AJA hopes that this project will lead to similar projects both in the school community and beyond, and that it inspires others to focus on this meaningful giving concept. ♦