On Sunday, 150 people packed the Darchai Menachem Shul to celebrate another year of accomplishment by the students and staff. The awards ceremony recognized, as principal Rabbi Eyal Bension put it, “the efforts and deeds done in and out of the classroom.” The lesson of the day, Rabbi Bension explained, is to be able to look back at this day as a reminder of what we have accomplished and know that as students and educators, we can replicate that success once again.
Each of the 40 some students were called up in recognition of their specific talents, efforts and achievements. Rabbi Marozov’s Level 5 class was specifically proud to announce that they have collectively memorized 83 Amudim of Gemorah Bal Peh.
One parent of a child with autism, who joined Rabbi Perelstein’s class this year, was ecstatic to hear that her son has memorized two Blatt Gemorah. “He learned more than I ever thought he can learn… but more than just learning, I can say my son has friends for the first time is his life. I’m amazed at how loving and caring all the Rabbis are.”
For the staff at Darchai Menachem, the day gave them added inspiration and excitement for the coming school year. Rabbi Perelstein, Curriculum Coordinator, explained that they draw from this day year-round, “It’s incredibly gratifying to reflect on how far each student has come. It energizes the experience and gives us the power and inspiration to continue to strive higher each year.”
“It’s amazing to end on such a high note,” Rabbi Sebbag, Experiential Director, chimed in, “And we look with equal excitement towards next year with revolutionary ideas. The possibilities are endless.”
What the parents picked up on was the specialized attention each child received throughout the year. “I feel the individual needs of each student were on the forefront,” said Mrs. Muchnik, mother of Laibel, aged 14. “It is because of this that the students are really able to progress and maximize their potential for learning.”
Rabbi Schaffran, father of Bentzy, 12, and Mendel 9, echoed, “The individual attention is outstanding, the care of the teachers, principals and staff. Here, there was no such thing as ‘punishing’. We learned that every challenge has a solution.”
In his speech, Mendel Schmukler, 14, gave a specific example of his success at Darchai Menachem. He described how learning Gemorah was always a challenge for him, but “It definitely got easier for me to learn. We started off with key words and, through them, we were able to understand if it was a question, an answer or a statement.” Perhaps, Mrs. Esty Jacobson put it best: “This is a school where every child feels like a winner.”