By Phyllis J. Lubin

Who doesn’t love a friendly clown? Clowns remind me of annual trips to the circus with my Bubby Rose and Zayde Morris. Almost every year, my grandparents would take my brother Jacob and me to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Madison Square Garden. It was usually during chol ha’moed Pesach, and I fondly remember the hard-boiled eggs and matzah with cream cheese that would accompany us on those particular outings.

Did you ever notice that certain sights, sounds, scents, or tastes can bring back warm memories? The smell of burning wood reminds me of cold wintery nights when my father would light the fire in the living room and we would listen to old-time radio; hearing the song Dayeinu reminds me of my Zayde Morris’s favorite part of the Pesach Seder; and of course those funny, brightly dressed clowns bring back my fond memories of the circus.

Yesterday afternoon, my youngest daughter, Lea, came bouncing into the house in full clown face. Her makeup was amazing, and her costume brightened up the room. What better way to perk up at the end of a long day than by seeing this happy face?

Lea is participating in a special HAFTR Middle School program exclusively for seventh-graders: the Mitzvah Clowning Club, run through the Areyvut organization. The kickoff day, including a full-day education/training session and an on-site visit, took place on Monday, January 5.

Mitzvah Clowning combines the art of meaningful social interaction and wholesome clowning around. Each student involved in the Mitzvah Clowning Club is being trained in the knowledge and skills necessary for bikur cholim (visiting the sick), visiting the elderly, and entertaining those with special needs. Lea had an opportunity to learn how to apply clown makeup, create balloon animals, and initiate conversations with people she doesn’t know.

Lea and her friends from the Mitzvah Clowning Club already started “clowning around” yesterday afternoon while entertaining some senior citizens at the Bristol. Lea was so happy to help bring smiles to their faces–and probably reminded them of pleasant childhood memories as well.

School is a place to learn academic skills, but it should also be a place to become a person who knows how to share goodwill with others. I’m glad that Lea chose to participate in this meaningful program! v

Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children–Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea–and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at



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