June 28, 2012
Blazing a trail and taking the road less taken
With minimal fanfare and their trademark humor, warmth, emotion and uniqueness, the inaugurating class of Midreshet Shalhevet continued on its untrod path and graduated as their first senior class this past Wednesday evening at their current home in Temple Hillel in Valley Stream.
Four years ago, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman and Rabbi Yotav Eliach united Rambam Mesivta and HAFTR to create a sister school all under the umbrella of Machon HaTorah. At the end of that first year, the union fell apart, threatening the life of this new girls’ high school. The parents of the future tenth grade and the incoming ninth rallied and pulled together. Midreshet Shalhevet was reborn as an independent entity connected to their brother school of Rambam Mesivta. Sharing teachers, and Rambam’s activism, Midreshet Shalhevet also became a school noted for the warmth and camaraderie of its students and teachers as well as academic excellence, now with a student body of over 80 girls.
“I felt amazement and awe to see such a wonderful spectacle,” said Stacy Zeitz, one of the original activist parents whose daughter will now be in the second graduating class of Shalhevet. “It was the light at the end of the tunnel and now we’re here. We saw the growth of these girls as freshmen, helping scrub the (used) desks, the unity and strength, how many of the students who weren’t graduating showed up. And the seniors who said they will come back to see the eleventh graders graduating when they come back after their year in Israel. They were taking pictures together like the whole school was graduating, not just the seniors.”
“Having the opportunity to make the graduation so personal for the graduates was a unique pleasure,” said Esther Eisenman, Menahelet (principal) of Shalhevet. “It was hard for all of us in school to let those girls go: they are part of the very fiber of Shalhevet. But we are sure that they are ready and able to succeed in the years ahead.”