Smiling eager faces were anxious to greet over 300 guests at the doors of the lower school of Yeshivat Noam on March 28th as the first annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day was celebrated at the school. Visitors were helped with their coats and directed to register where they could be given a schedule of what their morning would entail. Following the registration a buffet breakfast awaited the anxious guests. During the breakfast, Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of Yeshivat Noam, greeted all of the guests suggesting that there were even great-grandparents in attendance and then introduced one of the many grandparents present. The honor of addressing the body of visitors was delegated to Mr. Larry Weiss as he had the distinction of being a grandparent who had 10 grandchildren attending the school. Mr. Weiss, who traveled from Staten Island to participate, spoke of the great nachas he feels upon discussing with each of his grandchildren what they are learning in their particular grades. Many heads in the audience were seen shaking in agreement.
Following a good cup of coffee, the visitors were off to follow the schedules of the children that they had come to join ranging in grades from Buds through grade two. In most cases, the first activity which took place was an Oneg Shabbat program at which time each class sang, learned of the parsha and, depending upon the level of the grade, listened to age appropriate stories. At the particular program which we had the pleasure of attending, for the grade one class, Rabbi Hagler retold a story to the class of a young boy who was not well enough to go to school one day. Because both of his parents worked, he was dropped off at his Bubbie’ s house. As he spent the day with her, he witnessed many of her different acts of chesed. She needed to deliver some food to a family that recently was affected by a sickness; she drove an elderly person to an appointment because she had no other mode of transportation. Her day encompassed many acts of chesed, and at the end of the day the little boy told his parents how much he had learned from his Bubbie. She had taught him the importance of doing chesed and helping others. He became eager to recognize what acts of kindness he could do after having observed his Bubbie.
Following the Oneg Shabbat program, we moved on to the English language class that included building words and art work as well. Each child was able to decorate a frame and then frame his/her project. Visitors sat around helping and watching. The smart board, a feature of each classroom, was introduced to the visitors—many had never seen it before and were impressed with the implementation of so much up-to-date equipment in all of the Noam classrooms.
Finally, the last experience we had was visiting the Hebrew language class. At this event the children were learning specific letters and pronunciation of the Hebrew alphabet. Again eager young minds participated and listened attentively as their teachers gave them instructions in Hebrew and in English as to what their assignment was. Once again they worked at their tables eagerly involved in their assignment.
It became clear to us visiting grade one, that school is certainly very different from our own days. The amount of attention and caring shown to each of the students by his/her teachers was quite different from the memories that we had. Perhaps we should go back to school. We now have a better understanding of why our grandchildren attending Noam are developing into such caring, motivated young people.
Upon leaving the school, although it had begun to rain, our pride and satisfaction at what we had seen brought smiles to our faces—another perk of being a grandparent. Thanks Yeshivat Noam for inviting us.
By Nina Glick