At the annual MAY Awards night

Arista Installation and Awards Night. Last week, Mesivta Ateres Yaakov held its annual Arista Installation and Awards Night, where tribute was paid to the myriad accomplishments of the talmidim at MAY. Consistent with MAY’s emphasis on developing all aspects of each talmid, excellence in many areas was recognized: limudei kodesh, middos, tefilah, general studies academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.

Assistant Menahel Rabbi Yossi Bennett introduced the program addressing the bittersweet emotions which all in attendance were feeling over the passing of Menahel Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe’s mother, Mrs. Shirley Yaffe, a’h.

After recitation of Tehillim by Mashgiach Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz, shlita, showing solidarity with Jews living in Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Bennett introduced senior Zvi Allman to speak in Rabbi Yaffe’s stead.

Following Zvi Allman’s inspirational and moving dvar Torah, Rabbi Sam Rudansky, general studies principal, installed the incoming student government, under the helm of co-presidents Yonatan Arshadnia and Naftali Engel, after which awards were presented to over 100 students, both for excellence and progress in a variety of areas of learning.

The evening closed with the Arista Installation of over 58 Arista honors students–nearly one third of the student body–and the recitation of the Arista pledge led by Arista President Yehuda Auerbach, followed by refreshments. Mazel tov!

Internet Awareness Program: A Student-Parent Partnership. This year, Mesivta Ateres Yaakov introduced a new ninth grade Internet awareness program. This initiative adds to a broad suite of longstanding established symposia for other grades about important issues such as bullying, substance abuse, health, and Internet safety.

The program was organized by Dr. Eli Shapiro, the mesivta’s social worker, and featured presentations from Dr. Shapiro, who addressed technology’s impact on social development and interaction; local family and child psychologist, Dr. Binyamin Tepfer, who addressed both immediate and long-term psychological effects of Internet usage; and Mr. Moshe Yachnes, clinical director of Madraigos, who fielded questions and answers from students about the dangers of the Internet.

MAY strives to ready talmidim to maintain Torah values while interacting with the world around us in a positive and constructive way. Accordingly, the symposium emphasized the fact that the Internet plays a prominent role in our day-to-day lives. As Menahel Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe stressed in his opening remarks, “Although many of us wish it was, the Internet is not just a passing fad. It is here to stay and we must educate our children how to address it b’derech haTorah.”

A key theme of the evening was that it was of critical importance for parents to be aware of the potential risks that are associated with unsupervised Internet use. It is incumbent on all parents to have an understanding of Internet safety to ensure that their children’s potential is not adversely affected. Open dialogue must occur between parents and children, and children’s concerns must be met with listening and discussion, as opposed to admonishment and reproach.

In the days following the program, and leading up to the yom tov of Shavuos, Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz initiated a campaign to reduce prolonged Internet usage and visual exposure amongst the talmidim. Over 100 boys participated in the campaign, preparing themselves for Kabbalas HaTorah and, as well, creating a tremendous kiddush Hashem. This validated the yeshiva’s approach of meeting the challenge primarily by instilling a desire in the talmidim to regulate themselves for their own benefit.

“There was no pressure to sign the petition,” commented Rabbi Horowitz, “The enormous response is a testament to the awareness of the dangers that lurk on the Internet and the desire of our talmidim to grow in their ruchniyus.”

Otsar’s Chevra Joins MAY for a Dynamic Shabbaton. The young men of Otsar’s Chevra joined the students and staff of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov on Shabbos Beha’alosecha for an exciting and meaningful Shabbaton at Camp Romimu in Monticello. Members of the group were so thrilled to be invited to come along. They had a wonderful time.

“Our young men integrated with the bachurim with ease,” explained Mayer Kadoch, program director of Otsar’s Chevra. “They had an experience that they will be talking about for weeks.”

Though the weather was a bit chilly, it did nothing to dull the spirit of all who attended this event. There was singing and dancing at each Shabbos seudah, memorable shiurim, and a fabulous melaveh malkah. “We had a great time,” Simcha reported. “Everyone was so nice,” Yidi added. “We had our own bunk and our counselors stayed with us,” Chaim said.

Otsar’s Chevra is an adult day habilitation program that meets daily. The members are out and about volunteering at local businesses much of the time. The members of this program love to have the chance to give back to the community. They are an important part of Klal Yisrael; their enthusiasm and kavanah is inspiring.

Chashi Brand, Otsar’s assistant executive director, said. “Otsar’s Chevra thanks Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, menahel, and Rabbi Shlomo Drebin, student programs coordinator, for hosting our group. The yeshiva students welcomed our group with open arms making the experience unforgettable.”


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