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The New Normal
by Naomi Nadata, Program Director
This is my 29th year as program director of CAHAL, but in some ways, I feel as if it’s my first year – as we all grapple with transitioning to a totally different learning platform and approach to teaching. Before Pesach, I hosted a Zoom meeting for our CAHAL teachers. It was absolutely inspiring to get their input and recommendations for how to work with video conferencing to teach their students most effectively using distance learning. They spoke about the growing partnership with the children’s parents and the importance of considering each child’s emotional and social needs as well. Dr. Suri Weinreb, our CAHAL psychologist, addressed the importance of making and maintaining a special personal connection to each child and their parents. Baruch Hashem, I have been getting very positive feedback from the parents, as well as our teachers.
It is truly awe inspiring to recognize that we have all become master jugglers. We juggle with the confinement and social distancing, having family always around, and unfortunately, sometimes, a spouse, parent or other family member who is ill. But we know that we have to keep moving forward every day. Our Limudai Kodesh staff has been placing special emphasis on Be’ur Tefilah and building our Bitachon and Emunah. Chessed and kindness are at the top of the list, and hakaras hatov for the heroic efforts of the members of the medical profession and the Hatzalah voluteers.
Mi k’amocha Yisrael? People all over are calling each other asking how they can help. Our teachers have been alerting me when they have become concerned about the financial and emotional well-being of parents. All of us have been reaching out to help in any way possible. One of the wonderful Roshai Yeshiva called me recently to ask which families may need money - how can the yeshiva help. We have so much to be grateful for, and while we are living with 'social isolation', we are reaching out to others in need more than ever. May we be matzliach in all our efforts, and may we see a nechama for those who have lost loved ones and a refuah shlayma for all the cholai Am Yisrael.
CAHAL’S 9TH ANNUAL CONCERT IS A HUGE SUCCESS
CAHAL held its ninth annual fundraising concert on Sunday, March 10, at the newly renovated Lawrence High School. The concert featured some of the outstanding Jewish performers in the world today, Mordechai Shapiro, Pumpidisa and Shloime Dachs. The Shloime Dachs Orchestra, accompanied the performers and Krohma Music provided the sound engineering and special effects. The concert, CAHAL’s largest fundraising event of the year, was a sell-out, with nearly 800 people in attendance. A pre-concert buffet dinner was held for VIP Sponsors. All the Performers took time to chat and take pictures with the Sponsors and their children at the event. Main Event/Mauzone catered the dinner and Oma’s Sushi and Simply Sushi donated platters. Mrs. Brocha Silverstein, a local party planner, decorated the room beautifully.
Pumpidisa opened the show with their unique style, delightful voices and enthusiastic performance. Shloime Dachs followed with a selection of beautiful tunes, including some oldies that pleased everyone. The sold-out crowd came alive when Mordechai Shapiro began performing. His amazing range and vibrant personality electrified the audience.
After the first set, Shimmie Ehrenreich, CAHAL’s Executive Director, thanked everyone for attending, especially the 70 Sponsors, the most ever at a CAHAL event. He also thanked the Directors of the Program, Mrs. Naomi Nadata and Mrs. Alice Feltheimer for their years of dedication to the children, and Shira Cohen and Fraidy Osina for coordinating the event. He then expressed appreciation to the 12 local yeshivas that participate in CAHAL to cheers from the crowd. Dr. Norman Blumenthal, founder and Chairman of CAHAL, spoke about the success of the Program over the past 27 years. CAHAL has helped hundreds of Jewish children in our community receive a yeshiva education and has mainstreamed a large percentage of them back into the yeshiva where their siblings and friends attend.
The second half of the show was a spectacular combination of more great music and enthusiastic dancing. As soon as Pumpidisa began singing the popular song, Baruch Hashem, dozens of men and boys began dancing, including some of CAHAL’s Board of Directors. All 3 performers returned and drew tremendous ovations throughout the rest of the show. Spontaneous dancing broke out several times. Shloime Dachs, Pumpidisa and Mordechai Shapiro joined together on stage for the big finale. The final song was a beautiful finish to a magical evening of entertainment. The event proved to be a huge success and raised much-needed money for CAHAL’s Scholarship Fund.
CAHAL Challah Baking at BYAM
After learning how Rivka Imainu was chosen as a wife for Yitzchak because of her midah of chessed, and that the miracle of the challah staying fresh for the entire week occurred again when Rivka entered Sarah Imainu's tent, the 3rd and 4th grade students in the CAHAL class at Bais Yaakov Ateres Miriam decided to turn baking challah into a chessed project. They each kneaded their dough and created two challahs, one to take home and a second challah to give to Achiezer for the cholim and their families at a local hospital. In the process, Morah Aviva Balsam taught the girls that when you are Mafrish Challah, it is an Eis Ratzon, a special time when Hashem answers our prayers. As their morah recited the bracha, the girls were encouraged to keep in mind someone in need of a refuah or a shidduch, or help with parnassa. The students had a wonderful time preparing the challah and a sense of being part of our kehillah in caring for those in need. Special thanks to Rabbi Nosson Neuman and the entire BYAM administration.
Simchas Torah in CAHAL First Grade Class at YOSS
In Rabbi Feivish Rotbard’s first grade CAHAL class at Yeshiva, Simchas Torah came early this year. In conjunction with Parshas Vayeilech, the class discussed the mitzvah of kesivas sefer torah. They had the opportunity to make their own mock Hachnasas Sefer Torah. The students first heard divrei bracha from their Menahel, Rabbi Avraham Robinson. Then each boy had a chance to come up and fill in a letter and have his picture taken with the Sefer Torah and Rebbe. Lively dancing followed with much simcha for all.
CAHAL STUDENTS VISIT NAUTILUS RESIDENTS
The CAHAL Yeshiva of South Shore 6th grade class enjoyed a day of Simcha and Chessed with the residents of the Nautilus Assisted Living Facility in Atlantic Beach. Rabbi Chananya Grinberg, Rabbi David Nagarpowers, Mr. Justin Lepolstat, and Mrs. Elaine Brenner accompanied the boys and helped to create a memorable experience for both the class and residents. The boys had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share their backgrounds. The boys, their Rebbeim and teachers sang songs and danced, spreading simcha to all the men and women who attended the program. The highlight of the event was when the boys were able to connect with the residents in one to one conversations. Many of the residents shared their own stories, and the students listened attentively and asked questions. Afterward, the boys enjoyed a special lunch at Carlos and Gabby’s. The experience was mutually heartfelt and positive for the residents and the boys.
TAG and CAHAL VISIT THE ZOO
What could be better than a day at the zoo with your friends! As the weather has finally started to warm up, TAG took its students for an educational and fun trip to the Queens Zoo to learn more about animals and their habitats. The yeshivas that host CAHAL classes integrate our students for all grade-wide activities including trips, and this was no exception. Mrs. Shani Hildeshaim and Miss Leah Kramer’s students from the TAG 1-2 CAHAL class went on the trip with their classmates in TAG. The girls were able to explore the different natures and preferences of many animals, from Sea Lions to Bears. They were able to notice the similarities of some animals like the Puma, Cheetah, and Lion, and they were introduced to animals they never saw before. A great time was had by all the TAG students including those in the CAHAL class.
A Most Unique CAHAL Hagadah Experience
The main mitzvah of Pesach is "vhigatita levincha", tell your children. Pesach is the ultimate children’s holiday. It is focused on making them feel as though they were present at the Geula. As we all know, dating back to our own school days, elementary school children create their own Hagadah every year. Rabbi Moshe Waxman, has taken this activity to an entirely new level. In the 2nd-3rd grade Yeshiva of South Shore CAHAL class, Yetziat Mitzrayim truly comes alive, as Rabbi Waxman focuses on the mindset of “B’chol dor v’dor”. Through active learning and multi-sensory techniques, the students literally experience our history and identify how Bnai Yisrael felt as each event unfolded. Then they dress up for each scene, portray the appropriate emotions, and Rabbi Waxman invests many hours photo-shopping his students into actual backdrops to complete the pictures. The results adorn their Hagadahs, but that is not all. Divrai Torah are added, important words are highlighted and color-coded, and the children are ready to go. As they present their extraordinary Hagadahs and all that they have learned, they become the most important participants at their family seders.