Eimatai Conference Sponsored by AMODS, CJF Engages High School Students in Community Projects

Hebrew High School of New England participants (clockwise from left): Achinoam Pollack, Avi Snyder, YU advisor Shlomo Stern, Arielle Blum, and Miriam Rosen work on a project at the conference

Nov 20, 2005 — Jewish high school students from across North America attended the Eimatai Leadership Development Conference Nov. 13-15. Eimatai is an initiative of the Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools (AMODS) through Yeshiva University’s (YU) Center for the Jewish Future (CJF).

At the conference, “Exploring the World of Tikkun Olam,” students looked at their responsibility of tikkun olam (repairing the world), learned about Jewish and non-Jewish causes, and acquired tools to start projects in their own schools.

“We wanted to challenge the participants to consider their place in relation to the larger world, and inspire them to make a difference,” said Judy Goldgrab, director of the Eimatai Leadership Development Project.

The conference utilizes YU mentors, who support students when they return to their schools to implement their projects. This year’s participating schools and their projects are:

– Hebrew Academy of Montreal: Will introduce a monthly derech eretz (personal character development) class in their school.
– Yeshiva Atlanta High School: Will hold a raffle to raise money for the school’s scholarship fund.
– Torah Academy of Bergen County, NJ: Will raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan through a month-long program.
– Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway, Cedarhurst, NY: Will create a tefillah (prayer) committee and organize a tri-state high school basketball tournament to raise money for Israel.
– Hebrew High School of New England, West Hartford, CT: Will create a program to educate Jewish students in public high schools about Jewish values.
– Yeshiva University High School for Girls, Holliswood, NY: Will collect clothing items for resettled families from Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip and will develop a relationship with Yeshivat Har Torah, a local middle school for girls.
– Yeshiva University High School for Boys, New York, NY: Will expand a program where students tutor students from local public schools.
– Maimonides School, Boston: Will introduce a monthly teacher appreciation program to boost school morale.
– Hillel Yeshiva High School, Deal, NJ: Will develop programs about self image and mutual respect.
– Stern Hebrew High School, Philadelphia: Will plan an Israel culture fair to educate the local community.

The Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools and Yeshiva High Schools (AMODS) provides a network for the educational community and its lay leadership to interact, share successes, solve problems, collaborate, and individually and collectively access the resources and professional services of Yeshiva University, in particular the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, and other educational and Jewish agencies.

Under the umbrella of the Center for the Jewish Future, AMODS’s efforts will be strengthened by its daily work with all components of the CJF, many of which directly impact the educational community.

Eimatai conferences aim to motivate students to create initiatives at their schools, synagogues, and communities. Recent projects have included a blue bracelet campaign called “Stand Strong For Israel” and an Israel solidarity rally in Manhattan that some 4,000 high school students attended.

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