“The focal point of Jewish life is the transmission of a heritage across the generations”– Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks
The last week has been another extraordinary one in the life of Moriah College, a week redolent in meaning, that clearly defines who we are and why we exist.
Two years ago, on the 75th anniversary of the foundation of Moriah College, we launched our first official Founder’s Day Assembly (Yom Hameyasdim). In each subsequent year, we have reinforced this message and acknowledged the foundation of the College and the importance of Moriah in the provision of a Jewish education. With this year’s Yom Hameyasdim ceremony, we recognised the richness of the cultural heritage of our students, our staff and our community.
Our special guests included members of staff, Mr Lederman (Uncle Velvel), Mrs Schwarz, Mrs Apfelbaum; parent, Dr Mordecai, Alumnus, Jared Cadry and current students Talia Zeevi and Jacob Whitmont. Noam Antonir Vice Captain and JLZ representative was our MC for the Assembly. He cleverly wove each guest’s family history and experience into a powerful narrative that allowed each to demonstrate their pride in the College and their place in the heritage and traditions that we stand for.
During the presentation, Noam had the forethought to acknowledge International Women’s Day and, in a moving tribute, linked the wonderful contributions of the women on the panel along with so many others to Moriah’s history. The pride with which Evie Apfelbaum and Stephanie Schwarz spoke of their long association with the College, as teachers, parents and now as grandparents/great aunts of current students, really highlighted the importance of the College for the Jewish community.
We concluded the assembly with our Performing Arts Captains Aiden Blecher and Jasper Gabay and their Year 12 (Counterpoint) Band leading Uncle Velvel in a high octane version of ‘I’ve got that Shabbas Feeling’. So many of the audience rose in pure joy to join in the rendition, reprising their days in Early Learning at the College – a very special end to a very memorable event.
Please take the opportunity to visit our exhibition of artefacts in the Auditorium Foyer. These are on loan to the College for a few months. Each treasure tells a wonderful story. Please watch the video below for an outline of the items on display.
Heritage and tradition are important – particularly in this day and age with our students facing such an uncertain and challenging future. Traditions give security and enhance the sense of belonging that we hope to engender in all of our students. Traditions reinforce our values and provide a forum for us to showcase what we stand for and celebrate the things that really matter in our lives. They remind us that we are a part of history, and help to shape character and the engagement of our students.
Moriah is so much more than ‘just a school’. Moriah is also very much a part of the lives of our graduates and extended families. On any day on campus, wonderful young graduates pour in to demonstrate their leadership and commitment, continuing their association with the College as Tefilla leaders, Sport coaches or guest speakers. Many also enjoy the opportunities afforded to Moriah graduates, such as the wonderful Brownstone program, which focuses on Jewish learning, leadership development and affords all the opportunity for internships in New York.
As a College, we are helping to fulfil our role in preparing the next generation of young Jewish leaders for Jewish and the wider Australian societies. As Eytan Taub and Noah Feilich so beautifully put it in their D’Var Torah on the day; “Like the generations before us who have passed on the flame of Yiddishkeit to us, everyone in the auditorium today is writing the next chapter of our school.”
Our sincere thanks are extended to both Hilary Kahn and Margaret Miller for their efforts behind the scenes to pull together both the exhibition and the wonderful assembly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Hart is the Head of High School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.