May 30, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Celebrates ‘Strength of Our Community’ At Annual Scholarship Dinner

(Courtesy of Ma’ayanot) The Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School’s 27th Annual Scholarship Dinner held on Monday night, April 1, at Cong. Keter Torah in Teaneck was an event packed with inspiration and energy. It was impossible not to leave the night moved by Ma’ayanot’s dedicated faculty, committed parent body and lay leaders, and of course, the incredible 2024 Ma’ayanot students.

The event’s theme, “Mi K’Amcha Yisrael: Celebrating Our Strength,” was eloquently introduced by CB Neugroschl, head of school: “Tonight, you will hear stories. Stories of strength, stories of growth, stories of commitment. We hope they inspire you as they have inspired us every single day.” Neugroschl began with expressing her hakarat hatov to the Ma’ayanot community after the tragic events of Oct. 7 and described a community that swiftly jumped into action to raise money, gather supplies and pack duffles late into the night as Ma’ayanot’s student center quickly became the official drop-off site. “Mi K’Amcha Yisrael. Mi K’amcha Ma’ayanot” was a phrase repeated throughout the event.

Celebrating the honorees was especially meaningful this year as they all exemplified what the school’s community stands for and what Am Yisrael represents during these difficult times. The honorees acted as examples for the young women of Ma’ayanot; they showcased a dedication to the school’s mission of educating and empowering the next generation of Jewish women.

The evening continued with honoring Yosef and Lisa Rubinstein, accepting this year’s Amudei Ma’ayanot Award, and Rebecca and Jeremy Kurz, who were presented with this year’s Hakarat Hatov Award. The Rubinsteins spent years contributing to Ma’ayanot and as proud parents of four daughters Leia (’19), Noa (’21), Miri (’25) and Leora (’26), they have seen firsthand how Ma’ayanot has catered to the individuality of each of their daughters, allowing their differences to shine. Likewise, the Kurz’s have illustrated an unwavering commitment to Ma’ayanot, volunteering in a variety of capacities, and are also proud parents of Yonatan and his wife Leah, Ayelet (’21), Aviva (’24) and Daniel. They too have personally seen how Ma’ayanot provided their daughters with an excellent education of Torah values.

There was a continued sense of inspiration and meaning as Ma’ayanot presented this year’s faculty excellence awards to Shifra Schapiro, Tanakh teacher and advisor to a variety of Ma’ayanot publications, Middle States coordinator and AP coordinator, and Chani Rotenberg, chair of the history department and co-director of humanities enrichment. Ma’ayanot seniors spoke about the impact the teachers had on their education and lives. Tzipora Bargad (’24) said of Shapiro, “Her warm and inviting personality fosters a unique environment of academic and religious growth that is unparalleled, as she consistently pushes her students to reach their spiritual and learning potential.” Talia Katz (’24) added that Schapiro’s “patience, positive demeanor and empathy are traits that we admire about her and strive to emulate, especially as we move onto a new chapter in our lives.”

Of Rotenberg’s excellence in education, Shifra Prager (’24) noted that she “constantly challenged us to think critically and creatively. Mrs. Rotenberg never just gave us the answer — we had to discover it for ourselves with the tools she provided.” Sorah Fisher (’24) ended by thanking Rotenberg for “challenging us and shaping us into the historians we are today.”

One of the highlights of the event was the enthusiasm coming from the Ma’ayanot seniors and some shared anecdotes about their memories beginning as nervous freshmen who were quickly welcomed by the warm and homey Ma’ayanot environment. They described feeling a strong sense of belonging in Ma’ayanot and expressed their gratitude for the past four years as Ma’ayanot helped shape who they are today.

It wouldn’t be a true Ma’ayanot event if it did not end with a beautiful kumzits followed by leibedik dancing led by the seniors. As students, faculty, parents and community members sang and danced together to end the evening, everyone left with their hearts filled with a strong sense of the power of Am Yisrael and Ma’ayanot’s contribution to continue building the next generation of Jewish women. “Mi K’Amcha Yisrael. Mi K’amcha Ma’ayanot.”

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