On January 1, RYNJ welcomed sixth grade parents to a special התחלת גמרא program designed to celebrate students’ embarking on Gemara learning for the first time. The program was entitled, “Bright Beginnings, Strong Foundations,” and it encapsulated the theme of both the program in particular and the year in general quite well. In the RYNJ middle school experience thus far, they have worked on creating a bright, vibrant and encouraging atmosphere of opportunity in all areas of their academic progress, religious and personal growth and social-emotional development. While the beautiful davening on January 1, was a testament to the growth of the boys since they joined the middle school minyan, their active learning was a demonstration of their broad gains in learning a subject entirely unknown to them just three months ago. The inspiring words of Rav Moshe Tzvi Weinberg were so appropriate as they continue their pledge to nurture the neshama of each student so that they internalize the incredible value each one represents.