Excitement and anticipation were in the air at the Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens as students in grades 1-4 and grades 5-8 participated in separate assemblies where the midos theme of the year and Y’mei Ratzon Program were introduced. Mrs. Nechama Jurkowitz, limudei kodesh principal, explained that the theme for the year Tav Shin Pei (5780) is related to peh – mouth. The pasuk we are focusing on is very familiar to everyone and recited in Eishes Chayil – “Piha Paschah B’Chochmah” – It “pays” to weigh your words wisely. Our motto is Say it right! This year, our adorable mascot owl, named BINAH, will be encouraging the girls to think before they speak and choose their words wisely. Mrs. Jurkowitz explained that babies are not born with the ability to speak, as they are with other senses, such as sight, hearing, and touch. This is because speech must be preceded with thought; and until young babies develop their thinking skills, they are not capable of speaking. What sets humans apart from animals is their ability to think and speak – dei’ah v’dibur. Using a large speech bubble, Mrs. Jurkowitz role-played with the students the thoughtful and appropriate response to a common school situation.

Mrs. Taub, Midos Program Coordinator, then introduced the Y’mei Ratzon Program, entitled “Weigh It & Say It!” The mazal of the month of Tishrei is moznayim – scales. We are taught that Hashem is weighing our mitzvos against our aveiros. In preparation for the Yom HaDin, we must accumulate as many mitzvos as possible. We must view each mitzvah as THE one that will tip the scale to the side of z’chus. So many mitzvos can be accomplished through our mouths, and yet so many aveiros can also be done with the slip of the tongue. Weighing our words before we speak, to ensure that they are pleasing to Hashem and those around us, will affect the weight of our personal scales and tip them over to the side of good life!

Every student received a Y’mei Ratzon booklet, and each class received a beautiful poster. Each week, the class chooses a class-wide goal, and each student chooses a personal goal to work on. The weeks are divided into Bein Adam L’Chaveiro (Between Man and His Friend), Bein Adam LaMakom (Between Man and Hashem), and Bein Adam L’Atzmo (Between Man and Himself). On a daily basis, the class-wide and personal goals are evaluated, and the appropriate boxes are colored in. The goal of the program is to encourage introspection and growth in the students during these days of Y’mei Ratzon.

The Tav Shin Pei theme song was then presented to the girls by a group of 8th graders. The students loved the song and were on their feet trying to copy the fantastic steps and movements. As a grand finale to the assembly, the students sang the theme songs from the past two years – Ayin Ches and Ayin Tes. The excitement and enthusiasm on their faces were amazing to see, and their singing reverberated throughout the gym. The ruach was palpable as the girls ended with this year’s Tav Shin Pei theme song. Each student also received a clip in the shape of a mouth with teeth, displaying the theme of the year. They will use it throughout the year to remember the important theme. Midos improvement and personal growth is a main focus at BYQ. What a way to start the Midos Program!