AVI CHAI concluded its general grant making on December 31, 2019.

A Maccabee Moment at DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys – HALB

Posted by: Deborah Fishman

December 3, 2018

Working in a Jewish day school, you are surrounded by modern-day Maccabees whose heroic actions lead to miracles — big and small — all the time. During Chanukah, AVI CHAI and Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools are featuring stories from Jewish day schools of “Maccabee moments” when students, teachers, and leaders made a difference to surmount challenges, beat the odds, and valiantly further Jewish values and actions in our community. Together we will read them and say “Nes Gadol Haya PO!” Chag Urim Sameach!
A Maccabee Moment at DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys – HALB in Woodmere, New York

At our school, we have a 12th grade student who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was in 9th grade, right before Pesach of his freshman year. He lives with his grandparents in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn’s Starret City. He was the only student from his elementary school to attend DRS, and knew no one before coming here. A number of students visited with him often throughout all of his treatments, and people contributed to help offset some of the costs to the family. Thankfully, towards the middle of 10th grade, his treatments ended, and he came back to school part time. Junior year he came back even more, and in his senior year, he is now back full-time at the yeshiva.
This year, during aseret yemei teshuva (the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), he matter-of-factly told us that he would be out the next day as he has to attend a hachnasat sefer Torah (Torah dedication).  Had we not asked him what it was about, the story would have ended there. When we pressed him, he sheepishly told us that the Make-a-Wish Foundation had approached him asking him what he wanted–he could have asked for anything. He davens (prays) in a small russian shul (synagogue) in Brooklyn that he knew needed a sefer torah, so he asked the Make-a-Wish Foundation for a Torah for his shul, and they gave it to him. The hachnasa was Thursday of aseret yemei teshuva.  
Last Shabbat, Shaul told his story to our entire school at the annual DRS Shabbaton. One memorable quote was, “I thank hashem for giving me a brain tumor, because I would not be who I am today without it.”  Of course, the story of the sefer torah was met with a standing ovation. More importantly, our students got a taste of what it means to appreciate life and what priorities should be.  
Submitted by Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva, DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys – HALB.

WordPress Video Lightbox