July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Loyalty Leads to Royalty—Bruriah Yamim Noraim Program

Bruriah helped ready its students and faculty for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the days in between with awe-inspiring speakers, a Plug-In to Yom Hadin yom iyun and the annual Tehillim-a-thon.

Loyalty to one’s friend in the physical realm can lead to loyalty to, and ultimately a deeper relationship with, Hashem, the highest form of royalty. This is the theme teacher Rivky Schwartz hoped would be conveyed when she envisioned Loyalty Leads to Royalty to open the season of Yamim Noraim. As attested to by the students, Schwartz was spot on. Several sophomores agreed that the speakers engaged the Bruriah audience, were relatable and infused humor into otherwise heavy topics.

As Rosh Hashanah approached, countless speakers rushed to schools all around America, spreading their words of Torah. Bruriah, too, had its speakers. What was distinctive about Bruriah’s speakers? What made Bruriah’s presenters so compelling?

Students and faculty at Bruriah had the pleasure of hearing the words of Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, director of education at NCSY. Rabbi Bashevkin not only conveyed a profound message to the Bruriah audience, but spoke as though he were one of the Bruriah family, commenting on the challenges of friendship, schoolwork and the particular adjustment of ninth grade. As Atarah Mandel said, “He voiced the true meaning of opening up to each other.” Every Bruriah student appreciated his words and took his speech to heart, from his mere presence to the impact of his words. Rabbi Bashevkin is an orator to remember.

A highlight of the Plug-In to Yom Hadin yom iyun,Folly Klein, also known as Tzipi Caton, author of “Miracle Ride,” shared her powerful story of surviving cancer. Klein taught the students that what matters most is who you are inside.

Imagine a 16-year-old girl just starting 11th grade. She’s all excited about the promising year to come. She’s the editor of the school newsletter, she’s destined to get a big part in the school play, she’s popular, she has a lot of friends and she’s smart. Imagine that same girl is getting her siddur from her backpack and feels a pain in her neck. She feels around and finds a few lumps on her neck. Concerned, she calls her mother, and then goes to her doctor. She takes many tests to see what this could be. Many tests later reveal the results are not good. This 16-year-old girl who was so excited for her new beautiful year, will now be spending a big part of it either at home or in the hospital being treated for cancer. Her promising year just got washed away.

This is the Klein’s story. She may have looked different on the outside, but she was the same person on the inside. She told the audience that this was a time for her to look into her inner self, as opposed to her outer self. “Was I kind? Was I nice to others?” Klein asked herself. When someone passes away, they leave everything physical behind, including their body. Their inner self is what really matters.

“Anger, discomfort, misery, renewal. Can struggle turn to hope? Folly Klein affirms that it can,” says ninth-grader Yael Shavelson.

Students will complete the programming with the annual Tehillim-a-thon and will donate proceeds to Hurricane Relief—Houston and Florida, and Chesed 24/7. The Bruriah community will head into Yom Kippur inspired and prepared to make it meaningful.

By Yael Shavelson, Atarah Mandel

 

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