June 21, 2024
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Yeshivat Noam Holds Memorable Hakhel

I am blessed to have experienced my second Hakhel at Yeshivat Noam.

I was again overwhelmed with emotion as over 1,000 students, teachers and faculty members gathered together for a re-enactment of Hakhel. I have always been a proud parent, teacher, principal and cheerleader of Yeshivat Noam, but the program that was held on Friday, Erev Sukkot, truly blew me away and reminded me of why I feel the way I do about Yeshivat Noam.

On that day, our students first learned about the mitzvah of Hakhel in their classrooms. In our middle school, two impressive eighth graders, Tiferet Ciner and Elie Wartelsky, explained Hakhel to their peers.

Dressed in a tallit and kittel, carrying a Torah, Rabbi Mordechai Schwersenski, elementary school principal, began dancing and singing through the halls of the school, picking up one grade at a time, creating a long procession leading outdoors. Class by class, led by their teachers, the students proceeded through the outdoor fields, which were decorated with Israeli flags. The air was filled with beautiful music played by Morah Adina and the spirit of the event was celebratory.

As I arrived with the elementary school students, the middle school students and teachers were dancing with Torahs and all of the rabbanim were wearing their tallitot and kittels while dancing with the Torahs.

Rabbi Chaim Hagler, head of school, addressed everyone, from Buds through eighth grades, reminding us of the 1000 that we were gathered and the million that was Bnei Yisrael. Rabbi Hagler read the pesukim from sefer Devarim in the Torah that describe the mitzvah of Hakhel. He then explained the pesukim in English and how we at Yeshivat Noam were about to experience this mitzvah.

Special long, thin, silver trumpets were blown, and the Torah was read. The Torah was raised for hagba and all recited “V’zot hatorah.” Finally all boys who are kohanim said Birkat Kohanim under tallitot. The program concluded with energetic dancing and singing.

While watching this moving program, I couldn’t help but think that these experiences are the reason we send our children to Jewish day school, and certainly why we send them to Yeshivat Noam. In the words of Rabbi Hagler, “Like the real Hakhel experience, we are sure that our public display of kavod (honor) haTorah and ahavat (love) haTorah left an indelible impression on our students.”

May we all be zoche to experience this mitzvah first hand in seven years!


Caryn Nat is elementary school assistant principal at Yeshivat Noam.

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