On a record-breaking frigid evening, nearly 200 individuals, including Bruriah and JEC alumni, current and former and parents, as well as many community members, converged on Bruriah High School for the 4th Annual Mrs. Chaya Newman a”h Memorial Event. The evening featured renowned inspirational speaker, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, who has dazzled audiences at countless Shabbatons and other memorable gatherings around the world.
Rabbi Rietti’s topic, “The Greatness of Being Tested: Infusing an Extra Dose of Emunah During Challenging Times,” conveyed a message of belief; believing in one’s ability to change, which ultimately represents the “miracles” which we have the ability to create within ourselves. Rabbi Rietti offered anecdotal evidence to remind us of the struggles which the Jewish people have experienced, individually and collectively, and how those very experiences can help shape our ability to effectively respond to the differences in one another. Rabbi Rietti’s message illustrated that our ability to face and overcome challenges is ultimately our greatest source of chizuk.
Rabbi Joseph Oratz, principal of Bruriah High School, emceed the evening and spoke about the pivotal role Mrs. Newman played in shaping Bruriah’s historic and current successes. Rabbi Oratz remarked, “You know life has meaning when your legacy lives on in your family and the students you’ve taught.” Rabbi Oratz’s words were augmented by those of Mrs. Shlomis Peikes, Associate principal of Bruriah High School and the daughter of Mrs. Newman. Mrs. Peikes described her mother as “a trailblazer” who helped her students “actualize their potential by continuously striving for excellence”.
Mrs. Newman’s mantra was “they (the students) will never care how much they know until they know how much we care.” Rabbi Rietti’s remarks personified that very message, illustrating that our compassion and support for each other will ultimately strengthen our faith and that of k’lal Yisrael.