Each year students at Yeshivat Noam have dedicated Ta’anit Esther as a special day of learning in memory of Noah Seidenfeld, a kindergarten student who tragically lost his life nine years ago. This year, the middle school students engaged in a Yom Iyun (a day of intensive study) surrounding topics related to Emunah (our beliefs).
The day began with Rabbi Hagler introducing the significance of the day to the students and giving them a charge to find opportunities to do acts of kindness towards one another, as that was the impression that Noah made on all of his classmates.
We then had the opportunity to hear from Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, who is the rabbi of Congregation Netivot Shalom and Chair of Bible and Jewish Thought at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Helfgot elucidated the complex topic of how Machloket (argument) became part of the tradition within our Torah She’bal Peh. Using the ever-relevant example of wanting to enjoy Bumbleberry ice cream after a sandwhich at Chickies, Rabbi Helfgot presented three ways of understanding the inclusion of Machloket into our Mesorah.
Later in the day, the students returned to our Beit Midrash to hear inspiring words of Torah from Rabbi Zev Reichman who is the rabbi at East Hill Synagogue in Englewood and a teacher at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Reichman shared a beautiful insight into the opening pesukim of Megillat Esther as a paradigm for recognizing Hashem’s intervention in the world from the story of Purim through the Yom Kippur War.
Aside from the speakers who joined us for the day, many of the middle school teachers took the opportunity to weave the day’s theme through their discipline in their regularly scheduled classes.
It proved to be a wonderful day of learning and growth, and a beautiful tribute to our student and friend, Noah.
Rabbi Tavi Koslowe is Assistant Principal, Judaic Studies, Middle School, Yeshivat Noam
By Rabbi Tavi Koslowe