By: Alexa Szafranski (11th Grade)
This past Wednesday, the third of Shevat, the Hebrew Academy high school commemorated the tragic loss of Sammy Farkas z”l for his hebrew yahrzeit. The day was dedicated as a day of learning in Sammy’s merit.
Judaic classes were dedicated to Sammy. The teachers shifted from the regular curriculum to topics pertaining to death and the next world. The learning positively affected the students, causing them to feel that they were properly spending the day.
“We learned about what happens every year on a yahrzeit,” said Jonathan Alishayev (11th grade). “I liked it because it was something new, and it made me understand what was happening to [Sammy] and connect to him.”
Students also participated in a “Lunch and Learn” program catered by Mozart Cafe. Chairs were set up in a circle in the cafeteria for the event to facilitate discussion. The program began with the eleventh grade class presenting the new bima cover that was dedicated by Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shapiro in Sammy’s honor.
Rabbi Massri then gave a Dvar Torah and lead a discussion about how Sammy has impacted the school.
After Rabbi Massri’s speech, the students were given the ability to share positive changes they made in their lives to honor Sammy.
Junior Mary Berkowitz specifically shared on how Sammy’s death inspired her to make the change in her life to keep complete kosher.
“After Sammy’s death I thought of what I could do to better myself in his honor,” said Berkowitz. “What came to mind was how I always struggled keeping kosher, and his death really motivated me to be able to do it.”
Following lunch, students were sent to their fifth period class. After class, students were called down for a lecture Rabbi Koriat was giving on the power of Kaddish.
Sammy Farkas z”l was a special person who was destined for greatness. He had goals and dreams he aspired and hoped to accomplish. His presence is felt and greatly missed. However, his legacy lives on. Many students have taken on new things and new perspectives to keep a piece of Sammy in their daily lives.