Inspiring kindness, learning and prayer at Shulamith High School


One would hardly believe that the school year is only two months in at Shulamith High School in Cedarhurst. In addition to engaging classroom learning and daily inspiration, there has been a steady stream of captivating guest speakers, spiritual prayer, and kindness trips, turning the words charity, prayer and repentance into action.

Speakers Jon Pritikin, Dina Schoonmaker, Sivan Rahav-Meir, and Rabbi Isaac Rice aimed to inspire students and discussed a variety of topics, from inclusiveness to spiritual growth to atonement. Offering fresh perspectives, the speakers invigorated a new energy at Shulamith High, school officials said.

Students’ alarm clocks rang before sunrise on Sept. 27. Buses pulled away at 6 a.m., and students prayed as the sun came up over the ocean. Words of Torah were shared by Principal Sara Munk. Students were then told to write one thing they want to pray for on a Post-It. Esty Munk, director of student activities, collected the Post-Its in a hat, and distributed them randomly to the students.

“Now you can daven for someone else this Yom Tov,” she stated. Yom Tov is a Jewish holiday and this was before Rosh Hashana. The students then went to Brooklyn and volunteered at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children and Ohel, running a Rosh Hashana activity with the residents.

Chesed (loving kindness) ambassadors kicked off an incredible program. First, they presented the student body with the chesed requirements for the year and then broke out into several different opportunities. Each ambassador explained how to get involved with the specific organization and the impact on those they help. Students reflected on how chesed can change the world. Students wrote their personal chesed goals on leaves on a “chesed tree” proudly displayed in the SHS hallway.

A morning educational forum was held on Oct. 4, where students, after prayer, delved into a text-based chaburah-style learning (Jewish ebonics). There were also workshops on connecting to ourselves, expressive art, mindfulness, guided meditation, and an audio-visual gallery. “I liked that we got to pick the workshops,” a sophomore said. “It feels good to get to make my own choices.”