This week, many of our students will be learning, listening to or singing the following ‘Mishenichnas Adar, Marbim BeSimcha’. We sing this song as a reminder that when we enter the month of Adar, we should increase our joy. In just three days, on Friday, 4 March, we celebrate the beginning of the new Hebrew month of Adar Sheni, reminding us that Purim is two weeks away. With the top secret dress up themes made public, Primary School students have begun planning how they will best reflect their interpretation on superheroes, both classic and modern. Our High School students are encouraged to be creative, original and resourceful in planning their Purim costumes and we cannot wait to see what our ELC students will look like in their colourful and cute fancy dress costumes. The Jewish concept of happiness, as we learn from the four mitzvot of Purim (megillah, mishloach manot, matanot la’evyonim and Purim se’udah), is about surrounding ourselves with other people and making them feel good. Here at Moriah, the simcha of Purim is extended into so many projects and initiatives, there is so much to celebrate in the coming weeks, and we look forward to sharing each of these with you.
The Student Development program strives to utilise each of these branches: leadership qualities, values centred learning and communal engagement to develop our students’ sense of self and Jewish identity through innovative, engaging, and educational workshops.
Each year group will have a definitive focus which will guide the themes and educational programming. Each program is age and stage appropriate so that it is relevant and meaningful for each year group. The programs are designed to promote self-growth, community involvement and social impact.
Pirkei Avot, the compilation of ethical teachings, form the basis of the Student Development program. Pirkei Avot is centred around Jewish values and discusses the significance of our choices and our individual connection to the Jewish and wider community. This foundation will infuse consistent Jewish thought into the Student Development program, highlighting for our students the way in which Judaism and Jewish values underpin all aspects of their lives
The Student Development team are additionally partnering with Moriah College alumni to be the role models and facilitators of many of these workshops. This partnership not only provides an avenue for alumni to give back to the College, but also offers them experience in professional and personal development. The involvement of alumni is a fundamental aspect of the Student Development plan as it ensures a cycle of continuity, allowing students to receive first-hand teachings from inspiring and motivating role models.
This year, Student Development will have a key focus from Year 5 through to Year 8. A variety of workshops will provide students with the opportunities to develop their understanding about the way in which Judaism and Jewish values impact and influence their identity. Students will appreciate how these values help them grow as active members of our community. They will recognise that being Jewish is not just about key events in the calendar, it is very much part of our everyday living, about who we are and who we become.
Our Year 6 Mi Ani (Who am I) program is based on the saying of the Sage Hillel, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? Being only for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” The program is part of a greater vision to immerse our students in age appropriate and Jewish experiences to deepen their appreciation of their Jewish identity, challenge themselves to ask questions like ‘who am I ?’ and understand their responsibility towards their community through leadership development. This understanding then becomes the springboard for social action as students immerse in a series of leadership workshops encouraging them to explore the role they can play in improving their school and community.
The Year 7 Ye’ud program is based on the quote “Which is the proper path an individual should choose for themselves?” (Avot 2:1). Ye’ud meaning mission, invites students to explore their future mission as they enter High School which is a new and exciting social and educational environment. The program based on Jewish immersive experiences creates opportunity for introspection as well as collaboration among students to determine their individual and collective ‘mission’, as they embark on their High School adventure.
Primary Jewish Life
A variety of exciting Jewish Life programs are now up and running in the Primary School. Friday Frenzy, encouraging students to respond to a question or puzzle based on the Parashah during morning tea on Friday is already attracting hundreds of students. Shabbat music, prizes being awarded and lots of little children are all you need to create a Friday Frenzy.
The Primary EDJE team are also about to introduce ‘Agent Adar’ which will encourage students to learn about Purim in the days leading up to Purim. Classes will be able to map their progress and the winning class will receive a prize for completing all tasks.
Finally, the long awaited Primary Jewish Life Enrichment program is underway. Classes taught by madrichim on a whole variety of topics began last week and will continue this term. These classes take place before school, after school and during the school day. Madrichim are very excited to welcome as many students to these classes.
We will also be welcoming our ELC students from the Prachim classes who will join the Year K students for their Purim Kesher program. Our Year K students will assist the Prachim students in their Purim activity and have the opportunity to be mentors for this session.
Year 7 Tefillin program
This week, our Year 7 boys are busy learning about and assembling their very own high-quality pair of Kosher Tefillin which they will use in Tefillah once they become Bar Mitzvah. We have a team from Melbourne including a qualified sofer (scribe) who are facilitating this program. The boys will be learning about the mitzvah of Tefillin: how they are made and what makes them so special. In addition, they will be sealing, sewing, measuring, painting and tying their very own pair of Tefillin. The boys invest time and effort into this program and will find meaning in this mitzvah as they put their Tefillin on every day until they graduate in Year 12.
With restrictions easing, we are absolutely thrilled to be able to progress with our plans for an April-May Year 11 IST (Israel Study Tour) program. To be able to take most of the cohort to Israel on this life-changing experience is truly awe-inspiring. We know how important this tour is for our students to solidify and strengthen their Jewish identity. To be in Israel for Pesach, to visit the holy sites, historical cities and modern-day metropolises, and to experience together with Israel first-hand the raw emotion as we commemorate Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s national Memorial Day) and 24 hours later, celebrate Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel’s Independence Day), are just some of the highlights we will experience together.
This week, the College, together with the Katz family, will be celebrating Lior’s Bar Mitzvah. Lior will be called to the Torah and will be reading from the Torah on Thursday (Rosh Chodesh) and will be celebrating with family and friends. This is the first time the College has hosted a Bar Mitzvah and we are very excited to share this simcha with the family. We look forward to sharing and celebrating many more simchas in the future.
Purim and Pesach
As our students begin discussing their ideas for their fancy dress Purim outfits, we are also underway in our planning for Pesach with some classes already rehearsing for their Pesach seders. To hear the students singing Purim songs intertwined with Avadim Hayinu and Dayenu reflects the full and eventful Term 1 calendar. We know that one of the best features of these celebrations is the fact that every student from our youngest ELC students all the way to our senior Year 12 students will be involved in these celebrations. They have the power to unite us as a College, a community and as a People.
We are so excited about each of these upcoming exciting programs and initiatives, and we ask you to partner with us in encouraging your children to share their excitement with you.
About the author
Ronnen Grauman is the Acting Head of Jewish Life and Learning at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.