Tucson Hebrew Academy has been selected to participate in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Tikkun Middot Project, an initiative to integrate mindfulness practice and character development in 28 Jewish communities across America. Loosely translated, tikkun middot means the cultivation or refinement of ethical traits or measures of character. The institute has trained representatives from each community in mindfulness practice, which they in turn teach to other staff and lay leaders. THA was awarded a $7,500 grant to implement its tikkun middot plan throughout the school.
At THA, tikkun middot is taught as a component of “Annatude,” a social/emotional learning program. Annatude is designed to help students learn to manage emotions, have better conflict resolution skills and learn to set and attain personal goals. The program is named in memory of THA alumna Anna Greenberg, who died in 2013 at age 28. She maintained such a positive attitude throughout her difficult battle with cancer that her friends and family started calling it “Annatude.” The program’s goal is to impart 10 core values to THA students: gratitude, compassion, teamwork, kindness, positivity, Torah, health, faith, joy and love. Students focus on a specific value each month. Families are also encouraged to reinforce Annatude at home by discussing these values with their children and setting their own personal goals. The Parent Teacher and Student Organization has also gotten involved by creating an Annatude bulletin board and gratitude lists throughout the school, where students, parents and teachers can write down the things they are grateful for.
At THA, the tikkun middot representatives are parent Gila Silverman and third grade teacher and THA alumna Melissa Truelove.
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Tikkun Middot Project is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.