Hebrew Academy’s NCSY JUMP team won first prize in a national competition this past Tuesday in New York.
“I feel that all of our work paid off,” said Aliza Posner (12th). “It’s good to know you tried your best and succeeded.”
The Jewish Unity Mentoring Program (JUMP) is a leadership program for Jewish students. After competing against thirty teams across the nation, the Hebrew Academy team and four others were selected to attend the JUMP boardroom in New York, and present their final projects. The Hebrew Academy team is made up of Malka Suster (12th), Aliza Posner, Ariella Wolfson (11th), Hadassah Bixon (10th), Elisheva Adouth (10th), Eden Grosz (10th), Jonathan Malove (10th), and Ofir Abramov (10th grade). They traveled to the boardroom where they presented their ideas on how to impact society through technology and tefillah. The team started various tefillah programs in our school that aimed to strengthen the students’ connection to Hashem during prayer in their own unique ways. They also took a Sunday to help the elderly learn how to use technology.
“They loved our tefillah reforms in the school for the girls,” said Abramov. “Also they loved the way we impacted the elderly with the technology.”
At the competition, the team showed a video, made by Yosef Nahon (11th grade), about how davening should be strengthened at shul in order for students to feel a connection in school.
Rabbi Shraga Gross, the son of Rabbi Alexander S. Gross, founder of the Hebrew Academy of Miami, attended the JUMP presentations and expressed his pride in the team for taking first place.
“The most satisfying thing was at the end Rabbi Gross, head of our school’s founder’s son, was saying he was so proud of us and it was the most satisfying thing for him and for us to show that all his dad’s work paid off,” said Bixon.
After a lot of discussion on how to change the davening atmosphere in school, the team decided on making half a day of school devoted to learning about davening.
“We were discussing how can we fix the tefillah problem in our school. Someone was like, what about we have a day of learning where we just teach kind of like what we did at seminars, where for hours we just learned about tefillah. So we said what if we do that, but for the whole half a day,” said Grosz.
The idea for teaching the elderly how to use technology began with an elderly visitation program, in which students would spend time with the elderly in order to prevent them from feeling lonely. Due to its many complications in the plan, Suster came up with the idea to just teach the seniors how to use technology. From there they developed the program, eventually creating the prize-winning presentation.
“Obviously winning feels great, but at the end of the day it’s more than just winning because really we’ve grown so much as a team and as individuals,” Posner said. “Jump really teaches you how to be a leader.”
By: Rina Reich (11th Grade)