April 22, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Freshmen Enjoy NCSY Leadership Mission to Charleston

Chesed, history, Torah, and bonding were the hallmarks of the recent Ma’ayanot Rapids Rising Leadership Chesed Mission to Charleston, South Carolina. Sixteen Ma’ayanot freshmen, accompanied by faculty chaperones Nina Bieler and Aryeh Tiefenbrunn, participated in this meaningful mission from November 29 to December 3. Sponsored by New Jersey NCSY, the trip was organized and led by Rabbi Reuben Lebovitz, Teaneck director of NCSY, and Aliza English, director of operations.

On Thursday, the group sorted donations at the Lowcountry Orphan Relief Center. “Each group of students was given a specific person to pack clothing for. We got a sheet with their age, what they need, their sizes and what they like. We then picked out carefully what we thought they would like most. We each made sure to only pick out what we would appreciate getting if we were in their place,” said freshman Ariella Vogel. Her classmate Emma Nordlicht added, “After a morning filled with meaningful chesed, we enjoyed lunch with beautiful scenery in Waterfront Park sitting by the Pineapple Fountain. We had the chance to walk around downtown Charleston and explore the city market and other cool shops. Although chesed is the reason a lot of us chose to come, I found this as an amazing chance to bond with my friends and experience Charleston culture.”

The busy morning was followed by a tour of the historic Coming Street Jewish Cemetery and the Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue, which was founded as a Sephardic Orthodox congregation in 1749 and is the second-oldest synagogue building in the United States and the oldest in continuous use.

On Friday, students volunteered at SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement) with its beach renovation project. “I really enjoyed visiting these charities and appreciate getting the opportunity to do chesed and have fun,” said Vogel.

On Shabbat, the group was hosted by Congregation Dor Tikvah. “We took part in a beautiful kabbalat Shabbat with the community. After davening we had our dinner at the Shabbat house across from the shul, with lots of singing and Divrei Torah,” said freshman Shira Adler. “Following dinner, we joined Rabbi and Rebbetzin Davies for a wonderful oneg at their house with a Q &A.”

During the day, students assisted with youth groups, taught shiurim in the shul’s Shabbat Academy program, and enjoyed a ruach-filled melave malka and Havdala and an evening out at the City Market.

“Over the course of these five days, our students learned that they can make an impact. They can give with their actions, rolling up their sleeves and stepping in to help those in need. And, they can also give intellectually. Our students are blessed with an exceptional Jewish education, and can share and teach the Torah they learn each day at Ma’ayanot,” said Bieler, Ma’ayanot’s ninth grade dean. “I am so proud of the work they did. They will, no doubt, carry their Charleston experience with them for years to come.”

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