MMY has the privelege of being located in Givat Shaul, a beautiful and multi-faceted religious neighborhood.
In order to help the students become aquainted with their neighbors, it has become a tradition for residents of the neighborhood to invite MMY girls each year to their homes for a meal on the second night of Rosh Hashana. This year as all years, the girls returned from their hosts on Rosh Hashana evening filled with excitement and stories about their experiences.
This year, we decided to take this cooperation to the next level and reciprocate with an invitation of our own to a special party in honor of Rosh Chodesh Kislev. About 25 women and children from the local community joined us for the event.
The initiative of Sarah (Winkler, MMY 5763-5764) Markowitz, our new Programming Coordinator, the party featured food, dancing to music provided by Shana Aleph students Shosh Balk and Elana Wenner, divrei Torah (all in Hebrew, of course) expressing the girls' appreciation for being made to feel so welcome in the neighborhood and a funny skit highlighting some of the language mistakes Americans make and cultural differences they face when coming to Israel. There was also a moving video presentation about the uniqueness and beauty of Yerushalayim, put together (on very short notice) by Shana Aleph student Leah Belson.
Clearly the highlight of the evening was when one of the women from the community asked for the microphone and gave a spontaneous and moving speech about how inspiring it is to see young women from other countries come to Yerushalayim to learn Torah.
The program ended shortly after 8:00 pm because the children had to get to bed and the MMY girls had to get to (a slightly delayed) Night Seder. The concensus of all involved was "we should do things like this more often!" - and plans are already underway for future events.