The Hebrew Academy (RASG) Fana Holtz High School NCSY JUMP Team took home first place nationally after presenting their year long efforts at the Goldman Sachs Board Room on April 4th in New York City! This is the third time the Warriors have presented at Goldman Sachs and the second time they took home the trophy. The team of eight hardworking students have dedicated the last year in creating social campaigns and meaningful programs in the community. They were 1 of 5 teams, and the only school in Florida, who were invited to the famous board room of Goldman Sachs where a panel of guest judges heard their presentations and the impacts their campaigns have had on their school and community. The four other schools were Ulpana, DRS Yeshiva High School, Shalhevet, and Central High Queens.
The topics students focused on were "How to improve Prayer" and "Savvy Seniors" (teaching technology to senior citizens). All of this, as part of a national program initiated and coordinated by the New York region of NCSY, JUMP offers leadership training to select Jewish teens as well as the opportunity to use that training to create and execute projects and programs in their schools and communities across the country. The team which is led by two senior captains - Aliza Posner and Malka Suster, includes Ariella Wolfson, Hadassah Bixon, Jonathan Malove, Ofir Abramov, Eden Grosz, and Elisheva Adouth, and the staff adviser Mrs. Amy Zuckerman.
“This competition is all about finding a void in your community and trying to fill that hole,” said Malka Suster, Senior and Team Co-Captain. “We realized there was this digital divide between the elderly and kids. We started a program called Savvy Seniors where we taught seniors how to use their cell phones and how to go on the internet.”
“We partnered with Jewish Community Services of South Florida and soon found out how challenging this would be,” said Aliza Posner, Senior and Team Co-Captain. “For instance, some of the elderly can’t use their fingers well, so touching their phone screens proved difficult. But, I think they really appreciated our help.”
The team also focused their efforts on improving the image of tefilah or prayer around campus. They created a “Yom Iyun,” or day of learning, where students were able to participate in a schoolwide debate and voice their concerns. As it turns out, tefilah was not chosen by the other schools participating.
“This campaign which the JUMP team is working on is a topic that every Jewish school has their eye on - Prayer, and how to make it more meaningful,” said Rabbi Aharon Assaraf, High School Principal. “What impresses me most is that the team told me that this topic of "Prayer" was the least popular topic selected by other schools and they felt it is exactly what would drive them. They are thriving on the fact that this challenge is real, they too want real results! I am so proud of them!”
The year-long competition kicked off in the fall, when teams from high schools and NCSY chapters throughout the country came together for a two-day conference focusing on problem solving and communications skills needed for leadership and project management. In the long run, the team captains feel this experience will help them as they enter the next phase of their life beyond the Hebrew Academy.
“This taught me a lot of leadership skills and opened my eyes to so many different issues in the community. I also realized how much I enjoy communal activism and hope to continue with it in the future,” said Posner.