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Kids Connect Blog

Mendel Hurwitz woke up Tuesday morning to find himself a viral sensation.

The 15-year-old son of Budapest-based Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries was profiled in a popular, new television series exploring religion. The episode documents Mendel’s bar mitzvah two years ago and his newfound status as an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community.

Mendel viewed the coverage as a “chance to make a positive impression about Jewish life to the world, and share the meaning he finds in Jewish life and observance.”

Watch a segment about Mendel:


Ellie, 13, is one of 18 middle-school volunteers who regularly visit residents at the Kaplan Family Senior Residence, an assisted-living kosher facility in River Vale, N.J., as part of a Chabad-Lubavitch-run program that brings teens and seniors together.

“I think it is so much fun, and it makes the residents so happy,” said Ellie. “I just ask a lot of questions, and it makes their whole day.”

Each session focuses on a Jewish holiday or theme, and entails that the students and the seniors—most in their 80s and 90s—work together on a craft project and engage in informal conversation.

Thelma, an 81-year-old resident who declined to provide her last name, noted that “these kids are so respectful; they are compassionate and kind. They are always willing to help me. My grandchildren live far away, so when the kids from ‘Linking Hearts’ are here, it reminds me of [them]. What a great afternoon it is when they come!”