Maayanot Book Day 2019

Elisheva Raskas '21

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“Best day of my life. Every single lecture I went to, I felt so connected to. I enjoyed the book fair, and it inspired me to read” (Zahava Kalb, 2021). On Thursday, February 28th, “finding freedom” was the main theme of Book Day, organized by Mrs. Rotenberg and Mrs. Isserroff. Book Day began with an inspiring speech by Mr. Naftuli Moster who shared important aspects of his life journey. Born in Brooklyn, Moster was part of a Yiddish speaking, Hasidic family composed of 17 children. Moster attended Belz Yeshiva where secular studies were taught at a minimal level. After high school, Moster attended secular colleges and later earned a Master of Social Work degree. In a secular college environment, Moster felt deprived by the limited primary education he had received and began to understand the extent of his ignorance. Moster felt inspired to aid Hasidic children in similar situations. Therefore, Moster created an advocacy group called YAFFED, Young Advocates for Fair Education, which is dedicated to improving secular education in Ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas, that helped him and many others discover their own versions of freedom.

Additionally, students had the privilege of choosing two meaningful sessions taught by Ma’ayanot faculty members. Mrs. Scheier’s thought-provoking session, which was titled: “Killing Time: The Death of Freedom,” tackled the issue of how one should spend her limited time wisely. In her Shiur, Mrs. Lerner discussed the four ways that HaShem redeemed the Jewish people from Egypt. Aliza Cohn, 2021, said, “Book Day was really inspiring because it showed me other people’s perspectives about freedom.”

Luckily, Book Day was only midway through after the teacher-led talks! It was difficult for students to decide between the movie options relating to Book Day themes, including RBG, The Post, Selma, Shawshank Redemption, and Mona Lisa Smile. All of the films had great reviews and left students feeling enlightened. Finally, the book fair took place after lunch. Each student was granted the privilege of taking home a souvenir, a book. The students that had previously read Educated, by Tara Westover, Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, or Song of a Captive Bird, by Jasmine Darznik, offered at the fair were promoting “their” book and gave brief synopses to the rest of the student body. Personally, the book fair was my favorite part of Book Day, as it was enjoyable, student-led, and gave all students an opportunity to read a new, exciting book. Overall, book day was a success at Ma’ayanot and students are already counting down to book day next year!


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