The Women’s Division of Emet Outreach was privileged to welcome Maya Namdar of Maya’s Place as guest speaker for the launch of their ten-week spring semester of Step It Up and Step Into Prayer. Held at Congregation Machane Chodosh in Forest Hills, the evening drew a motivated crowd eager to hear words of inspiration from Maya about her daughter Liel Dina, a”h. Liel was 15 when she passed away in a car accident in December of 2021. Since then, Maya, her husband Efraim, and their children have taken their tragedy and rallied klal Yisrael to “Live for Liel” in her z’chus. “The Namdars have brought so much positivity and light into the world in memory of Liel,” said Sara B., Program Director. “We wanted to energize the girls at the start the semester, and Maya was the perfect person to do so with lessons from Liel.”

As Maya stood at the podium, the audience was drawn to her every word. Her topic was “Reminder: Hashem Loves Me. Growing Through It All.” She shared that Liel was a girl who “lived, loved, laughed, and learned” – not just for herself but for everyone around her. She was always smiling and went out of her way to befriend and help others. Liel was committed to doing mitzvos and davening, and her final text message was asking to be reminded to say K’rias Sh’ma. Maya also spoke about the recent family tragedies in Israel, where three sets of siblings were murdered from the Paley, Yaniv, and Dee families. She stressed that we must learn the importance of ahavas Yisrael and that we are responsible for one another.

At the close of her speech, Maya patiently answered questions for over an hour. She made the girls feel special by saying, “I came to inspire you, but I’m the one who’s leaving inspired.” The group sang “It’s Geshmak to Be a Yid” and “Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael” to close out the night.

“The evening was really emotional, but Maya made it joyful when talking about the example Liel set,” said Adina Fendel, Women’s Director. “We encouraged the girls to strive for consistency in their learning and davening in order to be successful. We felt connected to Liel through Maya, and that also made us feel connected to one another.”