June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

RCBC and School Heads Work Together for Good of Teens

The Rabbinical Council of Bergen County (RCBC), which consists of all the Orthodox rabbis in Bergen County, met this past week with the heads of all local Bergen County Jewish high schools. Rabbi Kenny Schiowitz, president of the RCBC, initiated the gathering to discuss ways in which congregational rabbis and principals could work together to help the community’s teenage students. Discussions focused on various methods of collaboration, including encouraging shul rabbis to work with school leaders in helping students navigate challenging personal or religious issues. In addition, the group discussed various ways to afford rabbis more interaction with their teenage shul members both in and out of school. To this end, the local schools intend to invite community rabbis to address their students more frequently. Rabbis and principals also discussed pressing communal issues, such as rising anxiety among teenagers and the high school admissions process. All who were present agreed to meet further and continue the collaborative efforts on behalf of the community’s students.

On a personal level, three things struck me as quite meaningful. First, I sat across from Rabbi Yosef Adler and Rabbi Benjamin Yudin, who were my rabbis and mentors growing up. It was an honor to collaborate with them and to continue to learn from them and their decades of experience. It was an opportunity to appreciate the fact that our community is blessed with thoughtful, dedicated, experienced rabbinic leaders whose involvement in and care for our children’s education spans generations. Secondly, despite the fact that high schools “compete” with one another for students, they each showed—in concrete and tangible ways—that they are first and foremost here for the kids and stand ready to work together as a group to improve the Jewish life of our community’s teenagers. Most importantly, the focus of the evening was the spirit of collaboration among the heads of school and communal rabbis. Notwithstanding differences of opinion and perspectives, everyone present recognized the critical roles that both rabbis and principals serve in our community and the need to lead together as a cohesive group. The mutual admiration and respect among the group members, regardless of varying perspectives, was truly inspiring. I look forward to continuing to work with communal leaders to address the needs of the next generation.

Rav Aryeh Stechler
Heichal HaTorah, Rosh Yeshiva and Dean
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