Excitement and anticipation were in the air at the Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens as all classes viewed a pre-recorded video of the Midos Program Opening Assembly. Despite each class watching the presentation on their own SmartBoard, there was a sense of achdus and ruach as the school-wide program was viewed simultaneously by all first through eighth grade classes. Mrs. Nechama Jurkowitz, limudei kodesh principal, introduced the theme of the year Tav Shin Pei Alef (5781) with the pasuk “HaPaam Odeh es Hashem – This time I will thank Hashem.” The year-long theme is OPPORTUNITIES OF APPRECIATION. Our motto is “A Time to Think and Thank.” This year our spunky redheaded mascot, named Yehudis, will be encouraging the girls to focus on the positive and be grateful and appreciate.

Mrs. Jurkowitz explained that although we are living through challenging times, there is so much chesed and goodness that we can see and appreciate. She held up a pair of glasses and explained the need to view all situations through the lens of hakaras ha’tov glasses. Mrs. Jurkowitz explained that Leah said the words, “Hapaam odeh es Hashem” after giving birth to her fourth son, Yehudah, because she realized that Hashem had given her more than her share. Mrs. Jurkowitz encouraged the girls to “think and thank.” We must think and notice all the positivity, and then we can thank Hashem and others around us. She ended by explaining that the highest form of appreciation is to perpetuate the kindness done to you and continue the cycle of giving to others.

Mrs. Taub, Midos Program coordinator, then introduced the Y’mei Ratzon Program entitled, “A Time to Find Favor.” She explained that our mascot Yehudis is holding a watch because we will be focusing this year not only on the concept of appreciation but also on the importance of TIME (HaPaam). We should never waste time, and we should seize the opportunities that present themselves at specific times. The time of year between Rosh Chodesh Elul and Yom Kippur, called Y’mei Ratzon, is an easy time to connect with Hashem, find favor in His eyes, and bring forth His compassion and mercy. This is because Hashem makes Himself very accessible during this favorable period.

Each student received a Y’mei Ratzon booklet, and each class received a beautiful poster. Every 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) and Bein Adam LaMakom (Between Man and Hashem). 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 Alef theme song, with motions, was then presented by a group of eighth graders. The students loved the song and were already trying to copy the steps and movements.

Each student received a small digital clock displaying the theme of the year. They will keep it on their desks to remind them that it’s “a time to think and thank.”

At BYQ, there is exhilaration over what we have accomplished these past months, which inspires us to continue to tap into that enthusiasm. Our midos program is a prime example of how we promote a collective sense of BYQ school spirit, mission, and purpose. What a way to start the new school year!