One of the most meaningful forms of chesed is giving to people you have never met. Over a year in the making, this was the basis for the Moriah fifth grade video tribute for Nancy Novak z”l project.
Novak was a special-ed teacher at Yeshiva Ktana of Passaic, boys division, for 20 years. Her priorities were literacy and teaching children good midot. Novak taught her students what it meant to treat people with kavod and to take care of one another. She would have been so touched by Moriah students showing their concern for their fellow Jew.
The lyrics were written by Morah Keli Teichman, early childhood music coordinator at Moriah, to the tune of “B’Yachad” by Mordechai Shapiro. “I wrote the song for Nancy’s close friends to sing at her last birthday, and wanted to preserve it for her family,” Teichman said. “I approached Michael Nadata with the idea, knowing that Moriah had a state-of-the-art recording studio.” Rabbi Nadata, musical director of the lower and middle schools at Moriah, was eager to take this project on with his (then fourth now) fifth grade classes.
Rabbi Nadata took Teichman’s idea and brought it to a whole new level. Not only did he work tirelessly on vocal recordings, but went above and beyond to choreograph dances and animation to coordinate with the lyrics. He also worked on graphics to enhance the video visual effects.
“We started in the recording studio where each student had the opportunity to do one vocal take of the entire song, and multiple students joined to sing the chorus” said Rabbi Nadata. Next, the students formed into groups and were given several lines to choreograph for video. The following three weeks to four weeks students filmed in Moriah’s green screen room what they created for the choreography, some groups using their own props. Even after all of the filming was done, the students were happy to squeeze in a new student who joined the class in the middle of the year.
The students and teachers agree that it was an amazing process. All it took was a vision, a cause, determination and two music teachers who truly care about their students and Am Yisrael as a whole. Moriah produced a video that will be treasured for a lifetime. Wounds are hard to heal, and doses of kindness go a long way. The video can be viewed on Moriah’s Youtube channel.