He has some 40,000 bees in his backyard, and dressed in a beekeeper suit, he brings them with when visiting schools in preparation for the Jewish New Year. This is the way Rabbi Shmully Gutnick, director of the Chabad Youth Network of Florida, spends the first few weeks of the new school year, teaching about the upcoming High Holidays.
“You bring bees into a room full of kids and they will listen to every word you tell them,’ says Gutnick. Over bees, honeycomb and honey, he explains to them many of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah, which includes dipping the Challah bread and an apple in the sticky stuff, symbolic of our hopes and prayers for a sweet new year.
Gutnick, who goes from one school to school, makes it is his goal to pack as much Jewish info in each sitting. “Are bees kosher to eat?” he asks the crowd, explaining to them that while bees are not kosher, the actual honey does not come from the bees, but comes from the plants pollinated by the bees.
The kids take away with a small jar of honey they extracted themselves, and lots of information about Rosh Hashanah to share with family and friends.