The great thing about teens? They aren’t afraid to ask the questions we’ve all thought of, but would never dare voice in polite society.
On our side of the desk, we hear the deep questions. The good questions. The hard questions.
“Why can’t Hashem be more open-minded? Why can’t He accept me the way I am?”
“Where do I fit in Hashem’s bigger picture?”
“What do I do if my family or friends disparage Yiddishkeit?”
“Shabbos is boring — how do I make it meaningful?”
“Why do I have such a hard life?”
Because living a meaningful, G-dly life is so central to our goals at Ichud, we prioritize these kind of questions.
We recognize that growing up frum often makes it difficult to appreciate the beauty of a connected, Torah lifestyle. In the rush of life, it’s easy to forget our divine calling.
So in response to our students’ requests, we’ve rolled out a 7-part weekly Sefira series entitled, “Meaningful Connections.”
Spearheading this brand-new project are Rifky Herman and Sarah Zehavi, two of our favorite therapists.
They’re super enthusiastic about giving the girls a casual, intimate platform to share their thoughts freely and they’ve curated a fantastic list of speakers who aren’t afraid to explore these questions, share their life stories, and get to the core of being a Jew on a mission.
Week 1 rolled out the red carpet for Mrs. Ayala Vogel, a captivating and warm woman who immediately connected with the girls.
She gave us an inside tour of her life, candidly describing her childhood, challenges, and the strong emunah that has carried her throughout.
Her experiences have taught her that life is transient, and the only thing that matters is the difference you make in this world and the deeds you leave behind, as Mishlei says, “Tov shem m’shemen tov.”
Week 2’s Mrs. Luba Glasser moved us with her incredible life story.
A baalas teshuva who faced tough tests and difficult choices, she prevailed again and again. Her secret to spiritual survival? She carries G-d’s phone number. Her running dialogue with G-d, even if she’s angry or sad, ensures her connection stays secure.
She also validated the unique struggle FFBs have: “It’s difficult to recognize diamonds when you’re buried in them.” But she promises a firm relationship with Hashem will give you the clarity and strength to overcome anything life throws at you.
The response has been terrific.
Our girls are engaging, thinking, discussing — and eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series’ inspiration.
Another beloved speech therapist/writing teacher, Miss Bina Mandel, was ordained our Feature Teacher this month. The girls gravitate towards her sunny smile, sincerity, and wholehearted devotion to their growth. Her interview was especially moving, as she described her struggles with learning and the power of a single teacher’s belief in her.
Now Miss Mandel is clearly paying it forward. She devotes hours of her personal time and resources to our girls, with outstanding results.