May 20, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Retreat Strengthens Student Connections

Ma’ayanot’s joyous and fun Rapids Retreat, on Thursday, September 14, was a great success! Organized by the esteemed programming team led by Assistant Principal for Co-Curricular Life Rabbi Zev Prince, along with Director of Student Activities Aliza Adler and Torah Programming Director Miriam Schwartz, the retreat is one of the most anticipated schoolwide programs each year. The day off campus is an opportunity for students and faculty to bond in a fun and relaxed setting.

This year, Ma’ayanot introduced a new initiative, Ma’ayanot Mishpachot, in which all 11th and 12th graders are set up in small groups with ninth or 10th graders, to inspire friendship and mentorship opportunities across the grades. This social framework will be used during in-school and out-of-school activities throughout the year. In a pre-retreat learning activity, each mishpacha learned Torah sources explaining the simanim of Rosh Hashanah, and were challenged to come up with a special siman/pun of their own.

The ninth-11th grade mishpachot enjoyed a G.Olympics obstacle course at Rockland Lake State Park, while the 10th-12th grade mishpachot went apple-picking at Dr. Davies Farm. After a full-school meetup at the park for lunch and a dedicated break for hatarat nedarim, the grades switched activities and locations, so each student came home with enough apples for her Rosh Hashanah simanim.

“We had a blast!” said freshmen Elana Shayowitz and Elana Guttman. “The scenery at Rockland Lake was really beautiful, and it was fun to do the obstacle course with our mishpachot!” Senior Sigal Ostrin said, “This is the best retreat yet, since as seniors we have become so cohesive as a grade.” Sophomore Liana Kahan appreciated the opportunity to go apple picking right before Rosh Hashanah. Senior Kira Nissel summed it up: “The retreat was a wonderful way to prepare for a sweet new year!” Ma’ayanot students look forward to many more exciting opportunities to bond and learn with one another.

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