Each morning while walking the hallways of the elementary school of the Yeshiva of South Shore, one hears the sweet sounds of Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban raising their voices in tefillah. The sincerity, melody and neshama of the davening are heartwarming. In the mechina division, the level of the kavanah and kavod hatfillah has been raised from wonderful to exceptional.
To what does the yeshiva owe this growth? Obviously there is a concerted effort among the rabbeim and hanhala to implement tools and strategies into the teaching of tifilla in every classroom.
YOSS invited Rabbi Maimon Elbaz, renowned mechanech and maspiah, to deliver his famous virtual reality slideshow portraying the essence of tefillah. He presented his show to the sixth through eigth grade boys on Shmoneh Esrei and to the younger division on Birchas Hashachar.
Rabbi Elbaz showed his visually stimulating slideshow while sprinkling riddles throughout and offering prizes for correct answers. Rabbi Judowitz, a seventh grade rebbe, commented at the end of the one hour show, “Why did it have to end so soon? The kids were totally absorbed and could have sat another hour and a half!” The visit by Rabbi Elbaz was sponsored l’iluy nishmas Rebbetzin Kamenetzky, tziral bas R’ Pinchus Eliyahu, a”h.
Another major item is the yeshiva’s usage of “Tefillah Power” workbooks written by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, author of the popular “Praying with Fire” books. Grades 4 through 8 utilize these beautifully crafted books each day.
A masterpiece which translates and highlights key elements of daily tefillah, the book is replete with stories, mosholim and pictures prepared specifically for different grade levels.
“My students’ davening has soared lately,” said Rabbi Ackerman, a fourth grade rebbe.
“They are so serious about it. I don’t know what to do with some boys who now take over an hour to daven Shacharis. It’s a phenomenal thing!”
Additionally, the mechina division recently instituted the “Shtikah B’tfillah” and “Davening Starts” initiatives as well.
Clearly, the efforts to raise the level of tefillah at the Yeshiva of South Shore are certainly bearing fruit.