On Shabbos, Parshas Vayeishev, almost 700 girls representing 75 schools throughout the United States, Canada and Panama converged on Cleveland, Ohio, for the national Bais Yaakov Convention, hosted by the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland’s Yavne High School.
“This year’s Bais Yaakov Convention, hosted by Yavne High School, exceeded our expectations. The tireless efforts were blessed with siyata diShmayaand we experienced overwhelming success. The atmosphere was uplifting and electric, the speeches were educational and inspiring, the workshops were interesting and thought-provoking, the program was organized and exciting, and the chaperones and delegates were enthusiastic and full of camaraderie,” stated Mrs. Chaya Gitty Kohn, menaheles of Yavne High School.
The convention was opened by Rabbi Simcha Dessler, menahel of Bais Chinuch Horav Dessler/Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. Rabbi Dessler invoked the words of Sarah Schenirer a”h, when, in 1917, she established what would become the future Bais Yaakov movement. Rabbi Dessler explained that although Sarah Schenirer had no biological children, today, 100 years later, her legacy lives on in the hearts, minds and lives of every Bais Yaakov student in the thriving Bais Yaakov movement across the globe.
Rabbi Naphtali Burnstein, rov of Young Israel of Greater Cleveland and a member of the Vaad Hachinuch of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, quoted the Bais Halevi in underscoring the connection between bnos Yisroel and Avinu Shebashomayim. Addressing the theme of “mashcheini acharecha narutza,” Rabbi Yoel Bursztyn, menahel of Bais Yaakov of Los Angeles, urged the audience to pause and reflect about where they stand on some of the most difficult nisyonos in our times and further connect with Hakadosh Boruch Hu, who will help us navigate life and overcome challenges.
Tehillim was led by Mrs. Neche Moerman and greetings were delivered by Mrs. Shani Kohn, assistant principal at Yavne High School and co-coordinator of the convention with Mrs. Ahuva Goldman.
Friday morning featured an address by Rabbi Yochanan Stengel, menahel of Bnos Bais Yaakov of Baltimore. On Shabbos, the delegates were addressed by Rabbi Yochanan Greenwald, assistant principal at Yavne High School; Rabbi Zev Katz, principal at Yeshiva of Greater Washington; Mrs. Kreindel Mannes, principal at Bais Yaakov of Chicago; Mrs. Feigi Zelcer; and Rabbi Shaul Engelsberg of Seattle. Over Shabbos, 22 workshops and panel discussions featured 44 presenters.
Motzoei Shabbos featured an address by Yavne menaheles Mrs. Chaya Gitty Kohn and a Yavne student production.
On Sunday, Rabbi Yitzchok Margareten, menahel of Yeshiva Derech HaTorah, quoted the Netziv, who wrote that people have been endowed with tendencies towards chesed, and gifts are effective only if guided by those who set the standards for Hakadosh Boruch Hu‘s instruction booklet. Rabbi Yechezkal Zweig, principal at Bais Yaakov of Baltimore, remembered his longtime colleague, the Baltimore menahel, Rabbi Mendy Freedman z”l, who lived the convention theme, mashcheini and narutza, and who exuded incomparable warmth.
Mrs. Rivky Silver inspired the audience with her life story. The closing banquet featured Dr. Louis Malcmacher, president of Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, and Rabbi Ephraim Eliyahu Shapiro, rov of Khal Shaarey Tefillah of North Miami Beach.
Various school presentations, a chidon, a kumzitz, a choir, a dance and the Yavne Accapella were part of an outstanding ruach throughout the weekend.
Special staff programming were delivered by Rabbi Bursztyn, Rabbi Zweig, Rabbi Zev Katz, Rabbi Yonasan Sanders, Rabbi Yitzchok Feigenbaum, Rabbi Asher Newman, Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman, Rebbetzin Suri Gibber, and Mrs. Faige Zelcer.
While all the events took place at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland’s Yavne High School, the men enjoyed breakfast and a tour of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland’s Oakwood Campus and heard divrei brocha from Rabbi Zev Busel, rosh kollel of Kollel Ateres Nochum Zev, and a melava malka for menahalimwas held at the home of Rabbi and Mrs. Simcha Dessler in Cleveland Heights.