Nefesh Yehudi Academy, the Jewish after school program for students attending the Hebrew language charter school in East Brunswick, utilized the public school’s 12:30 p.m. dismissal to create engaging Shavuot programming for their extended days.
On the first day, the student body Zoomed with Bethany Mandel, a conservative American commentator and author who is also a speaker about Jewish communal life, particularly about conversion. The students were able to relate Megillat Rut and Ruth’s story to Bethany’s conversion and what converts have to study and practice before officially becoming members of the Jewish tribe. One of the questions that stuck in Bethany’s mind was, “What is the bracha on a banana?” Trick question! Students from each grade had plenty of curious questions.
On the second day, the school was taught by NYA fifth grader Ella Farkas, who has her own baking business, how to decorate a cupcake to look like a flower. With all the beautiful floral cupcakes in the school that day, one could have imagined they were plucked off the blooming Har Sinai when we got the Torah. Then, Rabbi Dovid Gross of Torah Links of Middlesex County visited the school to show the students a Torah up close and personal. He told stories about how the Torah is important and the lengths Jewish people have gone through over time to protect our sacred scrolls. The NYA community went into the holiday of Shavuot well prepared and enthusiastic.