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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Many of us are heading into a week-long break from school and work to spend time with our families and friends. Some of us will head to sunny destinations, while others will “staycation” here and enjoy the vast array of fun activities our region offers. (See our staycation feature on pages 84 and 86). However, wherever we go this week, let’s plan, together, to accomplish two things:

First, let’s make a kiddush Hashem. Wherever we are, wherever we wear our kippot, caps, sheitels or sweatshirts with our schools’ or favorite organizations’ names on them, let’s remember that we are noble representatives of the Jewish people, who say “thank you,” “no, please, you go first,” “have a wonderful day,” and “I appreciate your help.” We were inspired by Rabbi Yitzchok “Ron” Eisenman in Passaic who wrote on this beautifully in advance of the Siyum HaShas, and we agree that reminding each other to always “stay classy” can only lead to positivity. Being kind and expressing appreciation to those around us (ticket-takers, flight attendants, hotel staff, gas station attendants, and every other person of any age we see sitting or standing around us) can only help us become better ambassadors to our surrounding communities, and we need that very desperately in this day and age. Let’s all be ambassadors for one another.

Secondly, and no less importantly, let’s put away our phones. Let’s remember the lessons of our six Bergen yeshiva heads of school: Let’s resolve to live in the moment, even if it’s just for an hour or a day, with our children. No matter how old our children are, or even if they are already adults, let’s check our mindfulness as we prioritize people over our devices. Of course our phones are of tremendous use to us and of course to our children as well; who even remembers long car rides without a video, game or an Audible book to break the monotony? But let’s also look at each other and value the moments Hashem gave us to spend time together, and not use our phones as replacements for human interactions.

Wherever your feet take you this yeshiva week, may it be with bracha and joy.