Schechter Boston prides itself on providing opportunities for the community to share multiple perspectives. One example occurs during a special minyan for grades 4-8 every Friday morning. During this time, an adult or grade 8 student shares thoughts about a deeply held belief. This speaker series, called “Ani Ma’amin(a) (This I Believe),” is a critical way to help Schechter students develop their personal identity. This has become a capstone moment for these soon-to-be graduating students.
“It is uplifting to watch these young teenagers express their individual stories and it is also inspiring to watch the younger students listen intently to the speakers and ask deep, thoughtful questions,” director of Jewish life and learning Rabbi Ravid Tilles said. “I already have fifth and sixth graders telling me that they want to sign up to deliver an Ani Ma’amin speech when they get to eighth grade. They are obviously thinking a lot about what is important to them.”
Talia Pearlman-Dufrene, ’22, recently spoke about hosting foster children in her home.
“I’ve learned a lot through my many years of being a foster family, but one of the most important things is something that my mom taught me: We help because we can,” she said. “Anyone at any moment can need help. And anyone at any moment can give help.”
Earlier this year, Gil Edelist, ’22, spoke about the benefits of being kind.
“Overall, we are only good as a community if people in it are being kind and respectful,” he said.
Occasionally, faculty members or other adults speak to the students.
“The prompt that I offer the adults who agree to speak is, ‘What is something that you wish an adult had told you when you were in middle school?’ The insights and the stories end up being remarkably inspiring,” Tilles said.
One of the first speakers this year was Lindsay Flammey, ’07, who spoke about her journey to her current position as a grade 4-5 Jewish studies teacher.
“I came back to Schechter not just because they offered me a job, but because I truly believe that we can learn so much from reading, translating and interpreting the Tanach. The brain muscles we use in decoding and reading, and then translating, and then trying to understand what we just read and translated are the same brain muscles that we use to solve problems in other areas in our lives. Plus, there’s the added bonus that the text relates to our own daily lives,” she said.
These speakers only offer a glimpse into the different perspectives that Schechter Boston has to offer. And it offers further proof that one community is made stronger by its members.
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