April 21, 2024
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April 21, 2024
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RYNJ Family Unites to Celebrate Israel@70

In honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary, students and faculty at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey (RYNJ) came together to hold an open museum exhibition at the school that celebrated the country’s rich history, culture, illustrious yeshivas, Israeli artifacts and innovations. The event, which took place on Monday night for the boys’ exhibitions and Tuesday night for the girls’, saw a total of 2,000 parents and members of the community visiting classrooms to learn about the age-appropriate topics that the different grades were assigned to research and present. With assistance from their teachers, the students covered more than 15 different topics and themes.

“For the past few weeks, our students have been deeply engaged in preparing for tonight’s museum,” the RYNJ administration shared in a brochure handed out at the event. “Throughout the preparation stages there was a unified sense of excitement and enthusiasm to develop an evening that would both demonstrate our collective love and connection with Eretz Yisrael as well as bring honor to and display awe of our homeland.”

The open museum idea was the brainchild of Head of School Rabbi Daniel Price and his administration. The team hoped to instill in the students a value and appreciation for Israel’s many accomplishments and holiness.

“The fact that Eretz Yisrael has reached this milestone demonstrates that, as a country, it’s solidified in the world,” Rabbi Price shared in an interview with The Jewish Link. “My grandparents, they never really got to experience Israel on the level we can today, and we never want our students to take its existence for granted. We hoped this event would inspire them to really take a look at how great of a miracle and privilege it is that there will always be a place in the world for the Jewish people. It’s really such a gift of God.”

At the two-hour event each evening, Rabbi Price was on hand at one of the school’s entrances to greet visitors. Many entering students enthusiastically grabbed their accompanying parent by the hand and rushed to the displays on which they had spent so many days working.

“It’s exciting,” Sariel Rotblat, an RYNJ seventh grader, shared. “We’ve been working hard on this event for a while. My topic was the War of Independence and I got to present a slideshow. It was cool having people asking questions.”

Fellow RYNJ seventh grader Chaim Mermelstein echoed his sentiments, elaborating that he and his fellow classmates felt especially prepared due to how encouraging their teacher had been in getting them comfortable with the material.

“We had a lot of fun putting our project together,” Mermelstein explained. “Our teacher worked pretty carefully with us to make sure we knew the material. It made [the night] fun and easy.”

One of the highlights of the museum was the gallery of artifacts located in the newly refurbished RYNJ shul. The eighth grade girls displayed 60 modern Israeli artifacts along with the information they had discovered through their history course with Rabbi Benjamin Yablok.

For Rabbi Avi Bernstein, RYNJ’s dean of students for middle schoolers, putting things together was all about crafting a program for the students that would both encourage their participation and have them come away learning something new.

“We wanted the students to walk away with information about Israel that they may not have known before,” Rabbi Bernstein elaborated. “Putting together their projects and then presenting them based on their research, we wanted them to become ambassadors and spokespeople for the land. This event was all about creating a student-driven, engaging and live experience that everyone could get involved in.”

Teacher Sari Kopitnikoff, who was one of the guides in the classrooms, shared that she felt part of the reason the students became so invested and took so well to the material was because of the active participation the projects required.

“Kids really get involved in learning when they can take ownership and create something hands on,” Kopitnikoff said. “This program was just that.”

With hundreds of students and community members exploring the different exhibitions over the course of the evenings, the faculty feels the museum has far surpassed what the school originally set out to accomplish.

“Eretz Yisrael has every­thing in it,” Rabbi Price said. “What we wanted to conquer with this project was to allow the students to see every aspect of the land and what it has to offer the world. We wanted the students to take away a love for the land, and the energy from tonight told me that we had accomplished what we set out to achieve.”

By Adam Samuel

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. He blogs at adamssoapbox.blog.

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