Hadar Bet Yaakov marked Purim to Pesach with an array of programming highlights spanning classroom academics to whole school gatherings.  Chodesh Adar was filled with simchah from our dress-up themed week to our celebratory Purim chagigah and a “wow” visit from Rav Gav, where the entire student group and staff were blown away when the famous Rabbi Gavriel Friedman empowered us with his understanding of life as a series of choices that gives everyone the opportunity to uncover their own personal meaning and simchah

We did follow-up Chodesh Adar activities that emphasized simchah and connectedness in our gala HBY Mother-Daughter Melave Malka, where we bonded with our mothers, creating beautiful artistic beaded salad spoons as well as going cheek-to-cheek with smiles for the camera with props and backgrounds in photobooth pictures.  Girls also enjoyed Mishmeres’ thought-provoking activity where student groups played a question-answer game with a new twist of “webbing” all participants who offered “answers” and comments to questions posed.  It was an insightful look into the “webs” and bonds we create when we listen to each other’s responses and genuinely care about the words we say to each other.

HBY girls also proudly stepped up to chesed by assembling Chai Lifeline shalach manos bags as well as joining a new tefilla group, Simchas Sara, where schools all over America are saying Tehillim for each other’s “names” of older single girls to become kallahs. In blending community service with political awareness, our girls also enjoyed a visit from Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, who shared her personal journey to a life of community service and leadership and led our own mini-town-hall meeting with HBY students who asked her questions and raised their own community concerns.  We also concluded our own HBY community Parenting Evenings with therapist Mrs. Chanie Delman, who ran parent workshop and discussion groups throughout the year. 

We segued to Chodesh Nissan with an explorative Yom Iyun hosted by Mrs. Simes and Mrs. Rambod, who transformed us all into ship captains examining what it means to be “in charge of” and take ownership for our lives and life-choices.  Our girls then internalized that same message with Kodesh principal Mrs. Rambod’s inauguration of Chabura Lunches, where girls flocked en-masse to lunch, read and discuss GPS Navigation for Your Soul, an English sefer devoted to personal growth.

As Pesach approached, Mrs. Rachel Adoniyahu came to speak to us about cultivating our own personal gifts to create a relationship with ourselves, each other and Hashem.  Our Honors Chumash class enjoyed a pre-Pesach chametz Chumash party, and Rabbi Bensoussan, HBY Halacha teacher, created an “HBY Halacha Chat” for the whole school so students and staff could go into Pesach break knowing they were only a post away from answering any important halachic question about Pesach or any topic.  As girls did the final Pesach sweep before break, HBY GO girls passed out meaningful Pesach packets for everyone with recipes, divrei Torah, and a collection of Seder activities for all ages to make table discussions meaningful and inspirational.  

From Purim’s simcha to Pesach’s message of geula, our HBY students are constantly challenged to better themselves daily and live a life of growth through Torah.

By Shoshanna Friedman