Mishmover—Thursday night mishmar plus sleepover—is an annual Ma’ayanot event where a majority of the student body remains in school from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, learning Torah, bonding with classmates and teachers and maybe catching a few moments of sleep as well. Ma’ayanot’s Mishmover tradition was started in 2006 at the suggestion of then junior and Torah Committee chair, Michal Novetsky ’07, who viewed the program as yet one more way to entice as many students as possible to participate in Torah lishma learning events.
Over the last almost-decade, Mishmover has grown into a highly anticipated and especially beloved program that a majority of students attend. Students love Mishmover for the camaraderie it inspires, but also because the various shiurim and activities are designed to be varied to ensure that they appeal to the differing interests and learning styles of the students.
Shiurim given by Ma’ayanot faculty members included “Fiery Jewish Women of the Middle Ages” by Dr. Julie Goldstein (Jewish History Chair) and “Thorny Questions: Understanding the Principles of Darchei Shalom and Mipnei Eivah” by Ma’ayanot’s principal, Mrs. Rivka Kahan.
Shiurim given by guest speakers include “Moshiach: Who is He? When is He Coming? What Does He Want?” by Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff (Educational Director of the Jewish Enrichment Center and instructor at Stern College), and “Praying with Fire” by Mrs. Sarah Robinson, parent of two Ma’ayanot students, Chaya ’16 and Ariella ‘18. Mrs. Robinson also led a meaningful mindfulness Ma’ariv.
In addition to the shiurim, there was a discussion panel, comprised of numerous community leaders, on “Challenges of a Community Leader,” and a second panel, comprised of seven Ma’ayanot teachers, on “Seeing God in My Subject.”
Other activities available throughout the evening included chaburot (small learning groups) led by Ma’ayanot seniors; a fireside chat with Ma’ayanot’s college fellows; a late-night ice cream party; and a cholent cook-off. Students also enjoyed giving chaburot for Sinai students and leading a chesed activity for Sinai and Yachad students.
Finally, students enjoyed a skype session with Rabbi Donny Besser, a long-time Ma’ayanot teacher who is on a sabbatical year in Israel; Rabbi Besser gave a shiur on “Dreams Displaced: Choosing Your Own Adventure in the Game of Life.” This session, which was scheduled to last 45 minutes, lasted a full two and a half hours, and proved to be a highlight of the evening for many students.
The program was planned by Rabbi Zev Prince (Talmud teacher, Director of Religious Programming, and Ma’ayanot Scholars Program Coordinator) and Mrs. Ora Schrier (Tanach teacher and Religious Programming Coordinator). When asked about their goals for the program, Mrs. Schrier explained “we wanted to create an exciting and fun experience that allows students to learn Torah in a passionate way. Mishmover is an excellent program that allows us to create Torah learning opportunities that appeal to everyone.”
When asked what was most meaningful for her, junior Rachel Koolyk mentioned learning with Ma’ayanot Sinai students in chaburot: “I think they enjoyed learning with us. They shared their ideas and added to the discussion, and they got to hear our ideas. It was nice!” Ms. Koolyk also loved skyping with Rabbi Besser and noted that “everyone went crazy with excitement to see him!”
Junior Ayelet Spira noted that she loved connecting with people in her own grade, across the grades and with teachers: “Mishmover is a highlight of the year. It makes everyone closer and you just get to bond with everyone.”