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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Ma’ayanot commemorated 9/11 with a powerful program on Friday that brought the stories of that tragic day closer to home for students. Students watched footage of the tragic event and heard testimonials from their teachers recalling where they were precisely when the planes hit the Towers. Later in the day, students heard from Ma’ayanot faculty member Coach Gila Guzman who told her story of survival. This was the first time Guzman had the courage to speak of her experience and the school is honored that she chose to do so with her Ma’ayanot family. Guzman was a lawyer at the time, working at the New York Housing Authority, in a building right across from the Twin Towers. She recalled the general confusion that she faced wondering what was happening and how she, together with her coworker Lisa, stayed together, supported each other, and managed to run for miles, even though she was pregnant, until they felt safe. She ended her reflections with three main lessons that could be learned from her story. The first is whether or not you have experienced trauma, it is best to seek help when needed and reach out to a friend, relative or professional and not to allow stigma to overtake you. The second lesson is look beyond yourself and see if someone around you is in need of your help and to truly extend yourself, as Lisa did, to help a friend. The third is to show hakarat hatov to those that have helped you in the past. The students personally thanked Guzman for having the courage to retell her story and appreciated the lessons she learned from the experience.

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