From Rosh Hashanah to Simcha Torah, for most of us, the past month has been full of holidays, celebrations, and family gatherings. Every year, this is a time of happiness for all, yet it was bittersweet for some. Going to college or Israel next year, this year’s senior class appreciated the holiday season even more, as they prepared to celebrate the holidays all together for the last time in a long time.
This year, the senior girls had a “family” gathering of their own, a challah bake, to commemorate their past years together and celebrate their last one. Daniela Alvarez, a senior who attended, said about the experience, “Baking challah with all your friends doesn’t seem like the biggest deal when you attend Hillel. Yet, for me, someone who returned to this school in tenth grade from a public school, I was not only reminded of the community that pulled me back, but was much more glad and appreciative that it did.”
Organized completely by themselves, the challah bake took place in senior Naomi Tangir’s home, and was a great bonding experience for the group of girls. Naomi, who so eagerly set up the ingredients, food, tables, and everything in between said, “When the idea about a challah bake first came up, I immediately volunteered for it to be in my home. Coming from a family which is so focused on Jewish values, I knew that there was nothing more I wanted from this experience than to include my friends, in a way, into my family.”
Not only did seniors attend, though, but faculty, including Dr. Hana Barouk and Mrs. Donaher, were there to celebrate with the group of girls who, at this point, don’t feel like just their students, but their friends. Dr. Barouk made the night especially memorable when she brought around a dozen wigs, comprised of her own collection and her friends’, to let the girls try on. “I feel that aside for the fun of it, the best part of the Challah Bake was the practical lesson we learned about the Jewish Woman, from the important role she plays in shaping the future generations to the ideas of modesty and dignity in Judaism. As the girls are about to embark on a new journey, it is important to empower them with the knowledge of our beautiful Jewish tradition and values in a way that is practical and applicable to their lives. I’ve been with them since ninth grade, and while it’s going to be so difficult to see them go, I trust that they will uphold these values and use them to guide their own lives, and I wish them a lot of success in all of their endeavors,” Dr. Barouk said about the girls.
As a senior myself, I can, without a doubt, say that looking back on the past four years and before with my friends in Hillel, this challah bake was one of the most positive and memorable experiences yet, and marked only the first of many senior girls’ bonding activities.
From group yoga to painting, the senior girls can look forward to making only the best of memories in their last year at Hillel, and are creating beautiful traditions for the grades and generations to follow.