This past weekend, I had the opportunity to chaperone the seniors on their convention to Toronto, Ontario, together with my wife. As I sat in the opening session looking down into the room, I could not help but to be amazed and excited to see that our seniors had the opportunity to join 900 girls from across North America at a tremendous kinus lesheim shamayim – holy gathering. The girls had the opportunity to hear speeches from Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro, Rabbi Raphael Gelley, Reb Shlomo Miller shlita, Rebbetzin Paretsky, and many more illustrious speakers. The girls were inspired by the practical and uplifting messages they heard, and also excited to meet so many new students at this amazing gathering. The exhibits created by Bais Yaakov of Toronto were spectacular. One included a special room in which was displayed the various chesed activities and opportunities the girls undertake.
On Friday night, I had the opportunity to address the entire staff and chaperones at the seudah. I implored them to reach girls by making our classes relevant and by allowing all girls to shine by involving them and offering them a serious role in their extracurricular programs such as Chagiga, production, mock trial and so much more—regardless of academic strength. By making each girl feel special, we allow her to harness the skills to build self-esteem and to connect to Hashem in a more meaningful manner.
The values of a “selfie” generation have infiltrated into our camp. The best manner to combat this self-centered atmosphere is by modeling and involving our students in acts of chesed. Klal Yisrael is known to be rachamanin, merciful; baishanim, humble; and gomlei chasadim, involved in chesed. I want to share with you an example of how an act of chesed can have an impact on people for years to come. Years ago, a high school student, Rachel Flaum (maiden Name) established a NEAT Chesed Carnival with proceeds towards tzedaka. This carnival has become an annual mainstay of the school and has had a profound impact on our community and on the organization to which the money is donated.
As all of you are aware, we just completed a most successful Pledje campaign. It involved many parents and lay leaders who spent much time and effort planning this campaign. I came up to NEAT one morning and asked the girls to volunteer and participate at the campaign headquarters. I was tremendously humbled when so many girls signed up to work. This was a major help in making our event successful. More important, I feel confident that this opportunity was also helpful in training our NEAT students on the tremendous impact that their chesed can have on others and on them as well.
Special thank you to the following people:
Event Chair people – Mrs. Lynn Jakubowicz, Mrs. Mindy Schachter
Food and Beverage – Mrs. Chana Rosenthal
Social Media Coordinator – Mr. Josh Cline
Rabbi Naftali Karp and Mrs. Twersky for their expert advice regarding our campaign.
Thank you to the over 50 volunteers who assisted in making this event the tremendous success it was. The building committee will be meeting to evaluate the specific mandated construction needs as they plan for Phase 2 of construction, which will hopefully commence this summer. Thank you again for all of your help and for making this joint effort a tremendous success.
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman