The girls of Bais Rivkah are constantly creating inspirational and exciting programs and events.
In a school of 638 girls, the chayus is palpable and the girls are incessantly refueled with incredible programs.
This year, the year of Shmitah, implanted the idea to make Shmitah practical to the girls, and this was incredibly brought to fruition. Entitling the event “Shmitah Day”, it rapidly spread to be the talk of school.
What are the intricacies of Shmitah?
Do the implications of the land in Israel impact us in America? What are practical lessons we can inculcate into our daily lives from Shmitah?
“Shmitah Day” began with an enlightening program in the shul, in which the theme of the day, שבת לה׳ – “Take Stalk” was portrayed through an array of presentations.
Upon entering the shul, the doors were nicely decorated, and they were seated to beautiful brochures elaborating on the day’s program.
There was an empowering video to provide insight on the unifying thread between Shabbos, Shmitah, and Moshiach. After 6 days of arduous work, we diverge from immersion in physicality, and embrace the sanctity and spirituality of Shabbos. Following 6 years of laboring the land, the land is to remain untouched for a full year, placing unwavering faith in Hashem that he will provide. And we are currently in the sixth millennium, anxiously anticipating the coming of the ultimate Geulah, when our motives will be solely G-dly.
An engaging skit was then performed by fellow students, which proceeded with a thought – provoking exercise.
The girls each received a mirror and were tasked to write their priorities. After spelling out matters they consider most important, do they get deterred from distractions and not exact sufficient timing for what they truly care about? This is what Shabbos, Shmitah, and Moshiach is all about – pausing from the intense grind, and calculating where they’re at, how in sync the are with they’re Neshama. It is these times that they can utilize time for what they care most about. As a student, Menucha Liberow reflects, “The message made me realize how I need to refocus and devote more of my time to Yiddishkeit, family, friends and meaningful things.”
To enable the holiness of Shabbos, Shmitah, and Moshiach to infiltrate the mundanity of the rest of the week, years, or lifetimes – an initiative was introduced encouraging girls to keep Shabbos for 10 minutes longer by actively fulfilling something they find important.
The girls were privileged to be addressed by Rabbi Wolvovsky, dynamic speaker and Shliach to Glastonbury, Connecticut, who elaborated on the theme of Shmitah with resonating insights captivating the crowd.
Culminating this rotation, there was a powerful voiceover accompanied by a display of the Keilim in the Beis Hamikdash explaining the intrinsic connection between Moshiach and Shmitah.
Lunch was beautifully set up contributing to the day’s festivities. Surrounded by painted backdrops, farm props, and eating Israeli cuisine made the girls feel the Shmitah experience.
Adding to the momentum of the day, the girls then headed for the lunchroom. They were stunned as they entered into an unrecognizable lunchroom; the room was completely transformed to “the Shmitah shuk.”
Upon entry, each girl received a thorough booklet they were to fill out as they experienced the shuk.
Prior to exploring the shuk, they viewed an meaningful video with a slam poem, and were glimpsed into the life of a the wife of a farmer keeping Shmitah in israel. They were amazed by the resolute Mesiras Nefesh and sacrifice the farmers had to adhere to the laws of Shmitah.
Additionally, Bais Rivkah purchased a plot of land in Israel to support the farmers and participate in Shmitah. The girls were encouraged to contribute towards the cost of this plot to not only apply the lessons of Shmitah, but to actually keep this extraordinary Mitzvah.
In a room covered from floor to ceiling with hay, fields, shuk booths, Halachos and more, the girls explored the extravagant shmita shuk. Learning the Halachos of Shmitah from the decor on the walls and from the various vendors, the girls filled out booklets which earned them “money” to purchase candy from the candy stand in the shuk. In addition to the booths which highly resembled those of the shuk in Israel, girls were dressed up selling products, explaining the laws, and creating the transformative Shmita Shuk Experience.
“The Shuk was amazing, the Halachos and details of Shmitah were expressed in such a fun, interactive, and engaging way! I learned so much, enjoyed, and the decorations were beyond!” shares Hadassah Benshimon, a 12th grade student.
The Shuk was fun filled, interactive learning oriented, and motivating for the girls to partake in the experience. Although the knowledge acquired and Halachos learned are the ultimate rewards, the girls got treats as they participated in the shuk. Additionally, the Halachos of Shmitah that were explained throughout the shuk, they are learning in Halacha class in an elaborate and relatable manner.
Shmitah day was a grand event, demonstrating invaluable lessons to the girls from Shabbos, Shmitah, and Moshiach, and how they can practically integrate such perspective shifts into their daily lives. It was a day of inspiration, unmatched energy, a phenomenal interactive learning and fun Shmita Shuk experience, and everlasting memories.
Bais Rivkah thanks all those that worked to make this day come about.
The GO girls and all those that assisted them
Mrs Lerman Curriculum Director
Mrs Blau Extracurricular Director
Chaya Mushka Baumgarten
Morah Tiechtel and all the principals, teachers, and shluchos of Bais Rivkah High School.