June 13, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Book Day Features Author Liza Weimer

Ma’ayanot enjoyed Book Day, an annual, school-wide celebration of literature as a lens into the human experience, on April 7, 2022. Meticulously organized by Interdisciplinary Coordinators Chani Rotenberg and Sarah Gordon, this year’s theme was “Healing Wounds in the World.” In addition to a keynote address, diverse sessions and films, students also selected, as a gift from Ma’ayanot, among four books at a book fair, in a fun cafe atmosphere complete with coffee and doughnuts.

One of the books on offer was Liza Weimer’s “The Assignment,” a novel based on a true story of two non-Jewish high school seniors in Oswego, New York, who publicly opposed an anti-Semitic writing assignment. Weimer was also the keynote speaker for Book Day, and students had a chance to speak with her during the book fair and lined up for the opportunity to have Weimer autograph their copy. Junior Daniella Karp was “inspired to meet a Jewish, observant author published by a secular publisher.”

Students also chose among a truly interdisciplinary range of sessions from distinguished presenters who have worked to heal wounds in the world, such as an associate director at the ADL’s Center on Extremism, a rabbi who worked with the Jewish community in El Salvador, and a chaplain at a correctional facility. Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg discussed chasidut’s view of healing the world and Ma’ayanot’s own Rabbi Jay Goldmintz’s session, “How I Dodged the Russian Secret Police and Helped Change the World,” was standing-room-only. In addition, Ma’ayanot faculty ran discussions about cooperation and collaborations between Jewish and other minority communities, and how to choose among worthy causes when helping others. English department chair Samantha Kur discussed protest poetry and South African apartheid, and STEAM teacher Gill Cofnas analyzed 3-D printing as a proposed solution to the world’s housing crisis. Ma’ayanot Book Day had dynamic and thought-provoking learning opportunities for everyone! Head of School CB Neugroschl quoted Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “The Jewish task is not to fear the real world but to enter and transform it, healing some of its wounds and bringing to places often shrouded in darkness fragments of Divine light.”

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