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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

(Courtesy of Yeshivat He’Atid) Yeshivat He’Atid participated in a meaningful commemoration of 9/11 alongside students and faculty of the Transfiguration Academy of Bergenfield and Dar-ul-Islah Hiftz Academy of Teaneck. Yeshivat He’Atid wanted its middle school students to honor 9/11 in a significant way. The goal of this program was to teach the students the importance of community despite people’s differences.

Yeshivat He’Atid’s students had previously participated in an incredible We the People MLK Day Program. Yeshivat He’Atid’s executive director, Bergenfield Council President Ora Kornbluth, reached out to Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Zur, the founder of We the People, to collaborate and bring this event to fruition. As a result, the first annual We the People 9/11 event was created.

“In the face of growing division, We the People seeks to bring our kids together. By engaging with each other in service, it is our hope that our children can learn their power to make a difference in their community and learn about each other in the process,” said Zur.

Although middle-school students were not yet born when the tragedy occurred, the school wanted to allow them the opportunity to reflect on the silver lining, the bond of America that emerged after that day. The students spent time together, remembering the victims and completing activities that show gratitude for first responders.

At Yeshivat He’Atid, students participate in dynamic project-based learning activities that bring learning to life through experience and discovery. Project-Based Learning (PBL) programming enables students to acquire deep content knowledge while actively exploring real-world applications. Students become collaborative learners through group projects and assignments.

The students participated in a variety of project-based learning activities. The program included words from Rav Tomer Ronen, head of school at Yeshivat He’Atid, as well as Mayor of Teaneck Mohammed Hameeduddin and Zur. Retired Union City Fire Captain Charlie Steinel spoke about his personal experience and fellow first responders’ experiences at Ground Zero. When the official speeches were over, the students broke into six groups. They spent time learning about one another and their cultures. After the initial ice breakers, the students worked on numerous activities together, building a bond and highlighting cultural diversity. Students wrote thank you notes and packed care packages for the first responders of Teaneck and Bergenfield. The students also packed toiletry bags for those less fortunate, and worked together on a 9/11 mural.

“This 9/11 program sought to commemorate how we as a nation pulled together in the wake of the attack. By learning to embrace each other—celebrating that we have more in common than divides us—We the People hopes to empower future generations to be part of strengthening the fabric of our greater community,” added Zur.

This event was a beautiful display of tolerance, where all participants—students, faculty and staff—committed themselves to honor the unity of a diverse America.