Over the past few months, thousands of Hebrew school students around the world went through a transformative introduction to Tzivos Hashem, presented by CKids.
Brochie Levin was always enthusiastic about Tzivos Hashem. A shlucha in Calgary, Alberta and the director of Calgary Yachad Hebrew School, she was thrilled when CKids announced a new initiative to bring Tzivos Hashem to Hebrew Schools. “It’s something I’ve always wanted for my community,” she says. “It’s what the Rebbe wanted from us.”
But not all shluchos were as confident. Chaya Fuss admits that she initially had concerns about introducing the army concept to her students. The director of Chabad Hebrew School in Fremont, California, Chaya says her community is one where the majority of fathers are not Jewish. It’s “hard to describe its level of unaffiliated-ness here.”
Chaya shares that she “worried about how the concept would go over with parents. I always felt Tzivos Hashem speaks to us very strongly as Lubavitchers, but wasn’t sure how it would work in a Hebrew school setting.”
In honor of Chof Ches Nissan, CKids launched the Tzivos Hashem campaign. While Brochie jumped on the opportunity to sign her school up right away, Chaya had to pause and take a deep breath. “I decided I would do it for the Rebbe. A birthday gift.”
But once the shluchos received their Tzivos Hashem curriculum from CKids, there was no room left for doubt. “I was blown away,” Chaya confesses.
The greatest proof of the program’s success is in the children’s reactions to it. CKids set a goal, using a clever online “mitzvah meter” for kids around the world to do 100,000 mitzvos by Lag B’omer. On Sunday after class, kids sat at their computers, running to complete mitzvah missions.
For shluchos, Tzivos Hashem is in a different league than anything else they’ve ever done before. “We’ve always had different prize systems, raffles, and competitions,” says Brochie, “but this was different. This was an army.”
Would the older students take to the army concept? Brochie wondered. “We gave the kids the feeling that being a soldier is their responsibility. It’s not just a feel good program where they can do mitzvos—there’s a greater purpose.”
To her surprise, 6th graders took it seriously. The class stressed how each child was chosen by Hashem.
Tzivos Hashem, the brainchild of the Rebbe, was launched 40 years ago as a way to solve the “root problem of today’s youth,” which is total disregard of authority.
“I thought long and hard…” the Rebbe writes in a letter, “and I came to the conclusion that the only way … is to devise a system of discipline that the child willingly accepts upon himself.”
An army was the perfect model of how children can be trained with commitment, purpose, and passion. Each child is a soldier, trained by their commanders (parents and teachers) to fight the enemy (the Yetzer Hara) with the strongest weapons (Torah and mitzvos). The war will be won when Moshiach comes, and the whole world recognizes the Commander-in-Chief (Hashem).
“The kids were really excited to do their missions on the Chabad Plus app,” said Chaya. “I told them they are joining the biggest Jewish kids club in the world.”
The CKids Tzivos Hashem lesson brought down all of these concepts in a fun and hands-on way. Students played a Kahoot game to get a general overview of Tzivos Hashem, then played a live version of the wildly popular “Among Us” video game which “the kids were obsessed with,” Chaya says.
At Calgary Yachad Hebrew School, kids stayed on Zoom well past the 12:00 PM end of school. “That never happens,” Brochie says. “But this week they were completely mesmerized.
At the end of the lesson, each child was awarded a Tzivos Hashem name badge and a mission water bottle. “As I called up each kid I was so emotional,” Chaya says.
In the Levins’ community, one of the students is already using his water bottle, daily taking it with him to public school.
“Kids of today’s generation are so used to following the latest trend, competing in the latest sports game, and Tzivos Hashem takes them back to their purpose.”
CKids is a project of Merkos Suite 302.