Kindergarten of EdenKindergarten of Eden

Dress modestly and get ice cream!

Crown Heights summer campers rewarded for showing solidarity and covering up

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Young ultra-Orthodox Jewish schoolgirls in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. (Serge Attal/Flash90)
Young ultra-Orthodox Jewish schoolgirls in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

Forget the Iron Dome. What Israel needs for protection is a whole lot of tznius, or modesty.

A group of women in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (the American headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch community) have launched a campaign whereby young girls can help fellow Jews in Israel by dressing extra-modestly at summer camp for the next few weeks, beginning Sunday.

Here’s how it works: Each day that a girl comes to camp in tznius attire (clothing which keeps necklines, elbows, knees and feet covered at all times), she will get an EDEN card. After collecting eight EDEN cards, she can turn them in for a free ice cream at one of two local vendors. In addition, all cards will be entered in to a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to be used at one of two area stores.

Wondering what EDEN stands for? It’s obvious: Eat ice cream, while helping Defend Eretz Yisrael Now.

While it may not be evident to everyone exactly how little girls’ covering themselves almost head to toe in the summer heat will protect the citizens of the State of Israel, the logic is straight forward according to the project’s organizers.

Poster for Project EDEN. (Courtesy)
Poster for Project EDEN. (Courtesy)

“PROJECT EDEN has a three-pronged effect: Firstly, it involves KIDS, Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban, our guarantors whom we turn to in times of trouble (think: 22 thousand children in the times of Mordechai and Esther). It’s all about ACHDUS – One nation, united, wherever we may be, giving of ourselves to help Israel. Thirdly, it’s about TZNIUS — our sure-fire protection,” they explain in the Haredi media.

The folks behind Project Eden have the bit about tznius being “our sure-fire protection” on good authority. According to the teachings of the Rebbe (the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson), “When Hashem sees that Yidden [Jews], wherever they are, are conducting themselves in a manner of Tznius — He accompanies them “to save you and to place your enemies before you.” Therefore “they need not do anything, because Hashem saves them, and causes all the enemies to fall before the Yidden, till the enemies are transformed and make peace with the Yidden.”

It would seem that all of the IDF’s sophisticated defense systems can’t hold a candle to covering up.

“Tznius is the wall protecting Klal Yisroel,” the Rebbe reportedly said.

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