April 16, 2024
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April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Striving for Greatness

Growing up in the Orthodox Jewish community, I have been fortunate enough to go to yeshiva day school since I was 2 years old. From a young age, I have been told the stories of the Jewish people, especially about the amazing midos, positive character traits, of the tzadikim in the Torah.

We learn about Avraham Avinu, who was willing to leave behind everything he knew to follow in the ways of Hashem. Hashem said to go and he went. Hashem said to sacrifice Yitzchak, and he very nearly did.

We learn about Moshe Rabbeinu, who was chosen by Hashem to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt and, despite an embarrassing speech impediment, he went.

We learn about Queen Esther, who risked her own life by revealing to the king that she was Jewish, all to save her people.

We are often reminded that these people are the gedolim, and they are called the gedolim, the great ones, for a reason. They’re not like you and me.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve sometimes been a little cynical. I’ve thought, “That’s great for them, but how does this apply to me?”

When I came into eighth grade this year, I thought I knew what to expect from parsha class. I viewed parsha as a Jewish version of history class. History is history—what does it have to do with a 13-year-old girl in New Jersey?

Miss Kayla Goldstein showed me what it has to do with me, and for the first time, I didn’t just learn the parsha stories as stories. At the end of every class we always talk about what lesson we can take from the parsha that week and how we can apply it to our daily lives. She lets us share our ideas and also shares some ideas of her own. She also tells us a story about herself or someone else applying that lesson. Miss Goldstein changes a lofty idea into something achievable in a tangible way.

Finally, it isn’t just, “Now you learned the parsha of the week, go study for your next quiz.” It is, “Now you know the parsha, what are you going to take from it?” This way of teaching changed my relationship with the lessons from the Torah. The stories are examples of how far a person can go if they choose to work on themselves. Miss Goldstein genuinely tries to apply the lessons from the Torah to her daily life and now I know that I can do that too.

Gavriella Dietz

A Poem About My Art Teacher


Calm, Beautiful

Sketching, Drawing, Painting

My teacher made an impact on my art

Helping, suggesting, cheering

Impactful, encouraging

Mrs. Burg

Bracha Pomeranz
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