June 3, 2024
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June 3, 2024
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Moriah Students Honored by Englewood’s Rotary Club ‘Teens for Peace’ Initiative

Dr. Lisa Wisotsky of Englewood will be completing her one-year term as president of the Englewood Rotary Club in July. Among her proudest accomplishments during her term was spearheading the “Teens for Peace” program, which will be perpetuated by the Rotary Club going forward. The program brought together 25 seventh and eighth graders from five Englewood middle schools in a project that promoted peace and a sense of community. One of the five middle schools participating in the project was the Moriah Middle School of Englewood, whose five representatives joined the others from the Janis Dismus Middle School, the Elisabeth Morrow School, the Dwight Englewood School and the Englewood Charter School.

The five students participating from Moriah are Jolie Glezerman, Brielle Weintraub, Benjamin Bane, Raelin Koslowe and Avery Moskowitz. Brielle Weintraub, a seventh grader at Moriah, commented, “I’m happy that I was part of this program. It was a great learning experience for me. I got to meet many kids from different schools and hear their opinions on how we can all improve our community and world.” Avery Moskowitz, son of Leiah Moskowitz, chairman of the board of the Moriah School, shared, “Through the program, I felt involved in my Englewood community and happy that I helped to make a change.”

Wisotsky, several of whose children attended Moriah, was delighted that the school was included in the initiative. “Our program helps the students gain mutual understanding, respect and civic engagement. We think it is the perfect way to support and guide young people in our community. It underscores the Rotary’s position of ‘Service Above Self.’”

Moriah Head of School Rabbi Daniel Alter was delighted that his students were able to participate in such a meaningful program. He shared, “I was so impressed with the maturity and wisdom that our students displayed throughout the program. Their interactions with the students from the other schools were productive and impactful. We believe that a Torah-observant Jew lives by Torah values in all of his/her interactions. The middot and enthusiasm that our students displayed throughout this process, building positive bridges in the community, reflected the best of Torah values.”

Moriah Middle School Principal Mrs.Tzipporah Boim participated in many planning meetings for the program together with the other school administrators. Boim saw this as an excellent opportunity to hear from public-school educators about their goals and values. As for the students’ participation, Boim shared, “Our students all worked collaboratively with others from the Englewood community. I was pleased that they were able to represent the yeshiva community. We were happy to learn that the other schools and students share our values. It was refreshing to see that all of the students have the same interests, energy and excitement for our community.”

Over the course of seven months, the 25 students attended interactive sessions on Zoom with facilitators from the Bergen Family Center. The center’s CEO, Mitch Schonfeld, together with Charlotte Bennett Schoen, former Englewood council president and chair of peace and conflict resolution of the Rotary Club, helped create the “Teens for Peace” Program. The sessions, which were packed with vibrant “discussion, debate and discovery,” addressed the importance of being an active participant in one’s community and the significance of life-long volunteering. After hearing from an array of guest speakers, the group together decided that climate justice and the reversal of global warming was most important to them. Thus, they launched their climate stewardship with a clean-up project at Flat Rock Brook Nature Preserve, a 150-acre nature preserve and environmental education center in Englewood. Next, they spread their message of climate justice on social media. Their project culminated with the planting of a Peace Pole in Veteran’s Memorial Park in the center of Englewood. This pole displays the phrase “Let Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight languages including English, Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, Hindi and sign language. To date there are 200,000 Peace Poles throughout the world, many of which have been erected by Rotary Clubs, the oldest community-service organization in the world, with 1.2 million members.

At the culminating ceremony on Monday, June 7, at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Englewood, the participating schools were presented with a certificate from the city by council president Charles Cobb. Each student participant was recognized by the Rotary Club and presented with a special certificate by the facilitators of the student sessions, Phyllis Kesslen and DeManuel Edmondson. The final act was the unveiling of the Peace Pole to signify the new-found unity of the students and a testament to the permanence of their commitment to their town and planet.

By Pearl Markovitz

 

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