April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Enriches Torah Learning With Personal Connections

The teen years are crucial for religious development, and making Torah learning personal has a powerful impact. Ma’ayanot consciously attends to the religious needs of students, and puts the systems, programs and personnel in place to ensure that each student can be personally guided on her spiritual path. This year, Ma’ayanot earned a grant from the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge for curricula and activities which elevate and deepen the God-student relationship. Through that lens, Ma’ayanot is further enhancing its successful mishmar and mashpia programs as well as introducing reflective practices into limudei kodesh classes.

The Bruce Ritholz z”l Mishmar program brings both renowned and in-house speakers to inspire students with extra Torah learning. The more than 250 students who participate each week can choose their session of interest, and after each mishmar students write a reflection relating to her own religious growth. Senior Esti Fields explained, “Each mishmar I go to inspires me and leaves me with a takeaway that I can apply to my life.” Added Eliana Herman, “Mishmar furthered my Torah study by making me look for projects of my own to start and learn about new topics that interest me.” Ninth grade Dean Nina Bieler noted that “When a Ma’ayanot faculty member gives a mishmar, students stay on afterward to talk and know that they have an ongoing connection.”

Each grade at Ma’ayanot also has a dedicated mashpia, who works closely with the administration and guidance department in a pioneering effort to envision religious guidance at each grade level. This reflects the school’s commitment that the program must address religious growth as a developmental process, with unique needs at each stage. Mashpi’im also learn with students individually and in small groups, and speak to them about Judaism, tefillah, Halacha, hashkafa, or personal growth—whatever is on a student’s mind. Twelfth grade mashpia Ora Schrier explained, “The goal of everything that we do is to help our students strengthen their relationship with Hashem.”

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