BPY MS students began the day at Ross Dock Picnic Area, a beautiful park under the George Washington Bridge, overlooking the Hudson River. With siddurim in hand, and the talented Yoni Stokar on guitar, the students prayed tefillah beautifully, singing in such a meaningful, spirited way. Out in nature, alongside the river on a beautiful sunny day, everyone was able to find meaning and connection to the words of the tefillot with the beauty of Hashem’s world all around. After they finished Shacharit, they enjoyed a special breakfast and time to sit and reflect in the park.
Students gathered back together for Selichot and tashlich. Different boys led Shacharit, kriat haTorah and Selichot beautifully. Th girls ended tefillah strongly with their powerful recitation of tefillah l’chayalei tzahal, followed by an inspiring “Hatikvah” sung by all students and teachers.
The program continued with more singing and storytelling, challenging the students to see Hashem in everything and truly live our school theme this year of ein od milvado.
During the second half of the day, students gathered in the beit midrash to hear a story of tefillah through song that took place in Gush Katif, from Dr. Hadar. The students were completely engrossed in the video of the story of hundreds of young teenage girls from across Israel singing for hours in a beit knesset before being evacuated.
After praying Mincha, students were honored to hear from Rabbi Akiva Block, preparing them for Yom Kippur. Rabbi Block spoke about the power of being a part of the Jewish nation and approaching tefillah on Yom Kippur as a member of a community. He pointed out that the text of the prayers and viduy are in plural, giving us comfort in the fact that we are not alone, and that there is tremendous power and strength in numbers—whether that be a school community, home community or Am Yisrael. Rabbi Block challenged the students to show up as their best selves and enter into Yom Kippur with added koach and enthusiasm.