05 Jul ‘Me’ – Final Programs by Noah Epstein and Ash Glasser
Punctuating the schooling experience of every Yavneh student is tailored Jewish Life Programming. This begins with the ME Program at years 6 and 7, during the Bnei Mitzvah years of our students’ lives. This week, after a full semester of learning and growing through mitzvot workshops, the BarME and BatME programs concluded. As our BatME girls had their concluding ceremony in 2020, complete with a celebration of their learning and candlesticks gifted to each student, their final session reflected upon all that they have learnt over the course of the program. Each girl received an individually branded glass jar, which by the end of the session, was filled with messages of gratitude and hope for their future from their peers.
Simultaneously, our BarME boys had their concluding ceremony. Beginning with an opening address from Rabbi Mirvis, our Year 7 boys enjoyed an hour and a half of learning, reflecting upon the lessons they’ve learnt over the semester, and feasting on a catered brunch from Spot On. A highlight of the event was when each student received their own, personalized Jewish book from Golds. From Mesillat Yesharim to Igeret HaRambam, and many books in between on Judaism’s teaching about kindness and gratitude, each student has a pocket-sized text that they can take with them, holding the messages of the Program and imbuing meaning into the daily lives of our students. Another focal point of the event was the learning in chaburot (small groups), as Jewish Studies staff, Jewish Life educators and Jewish Studies Support Staff joined our students to learn together in small groups, discussing the importance of looking after ourselves in order to be able to look after others. This is the message that underscores the ME, US, YOU Programs, in Years 6-7, 8, and 9 respectively. As Rabbi Cowen explained in his conclusion, the ME program encourages us to focus on ourselves and refine our characters and Jewish identity. Building on these foundations in Year 8, the US Program focuses on in-reach, and caring for those immediately within our vicinity. As a culmination of these programs, the YOU Program in year 9 facilitates out-reach and helping those in the broader community that need our assistance. As Ms Skewes discussed in her address to our Year 7 boys, this is the beginning of their journey into adulthood, the time of their lives when they are considering their impact on the people and places around them. The final ceremony allowed the boys to internalize these messages and reflect on an incredible year of learning and growth.