Nov 9, 2012
Online School Kids Reunite
Photos: Levi Percia/COLlive
Children who learn in the Shluchim Online School gathered for a reunion in Crown Heights, meeting up with their teachers and friends from around the world.
9:15 AM, Thursday morning. 65 Online School students were welcomed to a grand program at Oholei Torah. After a school-wide Davening, rally, and reunion with their classmates, the students were divided into their grades.
One class per grade in Oholei Torah graciously hosted the Online School students, and did an activity with the Online School boys. After a Shlichus panel, learning a Nigun, and other various activities together, goodbyes were said as the Oholei Torah students went back to their learning and the Online School students headed to Chovivei Torah for the grand annual Day of Celebration luncheon.
Over 200 Online School students, fathers, relatives, teachers and friends joined the Shluchim Online School's annual Day of Celebration enjoying a reunion brunch.
The theme of the event, Lamplighters, focused on the students' talent and abilities while highlighting how they light up the Online School with their talents and Kochos.
The Master of Ceremonies, Mendy Holtzberg, a 5th grade student from Pacific Grove, CA kicked off the program by giving a little glimpse into the Online School.
“I told my parents they are so lucky that I learn in Online School so they don’t need to buy me a new backpack, every year; I can reuse my old one," he joked. "So they told me, don’t forget that we already bought you 3 computers and you are on your 20th headset.”
He spoke about how sometimes he thinks it would be easier to live in Crown Heights and then he reminds himself about the concept of lamplighters, and reflects about his role on Shluchos.
Rabbi Moshe Shemtov, the Online School director, spoke about the importance of showing Hakaras Hatov, and took the opportunity to thank the teachers who help make the school what it is.
Mendel Laufer, from Warwick, RI the student speaker, gave deeper insight and meaning into the theme. “A Chossid once went to the Rebbe Rashab and asked him Rebbe what is a Chossid? The Rebbe Rashab answers, ‘A Chossid is a lamp lighter and a lamp lighter walks down the street with a pole and on the end of the pole is a flame and he knows this light isn’t just for him it’s to light other lamps.’ ‘What if the lamp is in the desert?’ asked the Chossid. The Rebbe Rashab answered, ‘Then you must go into the desert and light the lamp!’ So the Chossid asked, ‘What if it’s out in the ocean?’ ‘Then you must go into the water and swim to the lamp,’ answered the Rebbe Rashab.
Rabbi Nemes, from New Orleans, inspired the fathers and students with his message of the unique Ahavas Yisroel the Rebbe implanted in us and how that is expressed in the Hafatza that Lubavitch does.
As all guests enjoyed a tasty lunch, catered by Pomodori, a beautiful video presentation was shown, highlighting each grade and their various talents and abilities.
Just like Mendy Holtzberg related, each of the students in the room at the Day of Celebration are lamplighters. “I would like to end off with a story that sounds funny that but it’s really very true. Once when my brothers and I were playing in the park, we overheard a child asking her dad what that thing on my head was, his dad said ‘I think it’s a MENORAH’. The dad was actually correct we are always carrying a menorah on our head to bring light to people wherever we go. Boruch Hashem the online school and our parents teach us how the Rebbe guides us to be lamplighters.”
The Day of Celebration speakers panel concluded with Shmuly Kievman, from Liverpool, England, thanking the teachers and staff members and presenting them with a gift. “Sometimes, I need to travel in the car during class, but I can get internet in the car with a ‘dongle’ that my father got from the cell-phone provider, so I don’t miss class when I am away from the house. Even when I am sick, I can still go to school! So there really is no reason not to have school, even if there is a snow storm I can still get to school! Which means, that the Shluchim Online School probably has the best Chinuch in the whole world, despite that during the hurricane we nearly didn’t have school.”
After the lunch program with their fathers, the students joined with the Kinus Tzierei Hashluchim program, to enjoy a day of bowling, Mincha, dinner and more.
Special thank you to those who helped organized coordinate and organize this event: Thank you to Rabbi Shemtov, Mrs. Rosenfeld, Rabbi Goodman, Draizy Raskin, Berel Vogel, Toby Herman, Mendy Lachkar, and the rest of the Shluchim Office staff and teachers. We would also like to thank the Oholei Torah principals, Rabbi Z. Goldstein, Rabbi Y. Lustig, Rabbi S. Goldstein for working with us on the morning program and opening the school so graciously for us. Thank you to the Oholei Torah teachers and students for welcoming our students into their classrooms. A special thank you to Shlomi Deren and Sholom Katz of the Kinus Tzeirei Hashluchim staff, for their involvement in making the second half of the day a success.
Photos: Levi Percia/COLlive