This is a transcript of the d’var torah delivered at Levine Academy’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by two Levine Middle School students.
Avi- On behalf of both of us, I would like to thank the Board for all that they do and allowing us to come speak with you today.
The past few weeks we have been reading from Shemot, the second of five Books of the Torah. In these past weeks, we have seen Moshe grow from a newborn to an adult. This is a lot like the growth we are able to see in ourselves at Levine. We learned with Rabbi Litton and we searched for common themes between our growth process and Moshe’s.
Brenna- For instance, as a child Levine has protected me from the the bad in the world by outweighing it with the good. Moshe, in his early years was hidden by his mother and protected from the real world where he would have been killed. When he grew up, Moshe faced the real world with bravery ad courage, now that I am grown up, I am prepared to face the scary world of high school, with the same courage that Moshe has shown us.
Avi- Then Moshe grows up in Luxury allot like us! But for real … he never got to go on the Israel trip. Seriously, Moshe is introduced into complex a world where things are not as he always pictured them to be. Me and my friends all feel this way because we were raised in our loving households and wonder what it is like for all the other people. This is what happened to Moshe when he saw the Egyptian hitting the Jew. He was so caught up in his perfect world that he never noticed the bad things happening right outside his window. The second that he did, Moses stood up for what was right.
Brenna- Moshe then goes on to kill the Egyptian. This is a common theme in Levine and in the Larger Dallas community that we always have to be Upstanders. Just like Moses, we will not sit by while others suffer. In our Bnei Mitzvah Clubs, where parents can give donations in honor of Bnei Mitzvot we take that money and help those in need. We also raise money from Dollars for Denim and donate to those who are suffering, this is us living the legacy Moshe has taught us and planting seeds of hope throughout the pain. Instead of being a Bystander, we water our seeds with smiles, and help them grow with love.
Avi- Moshe then runs away to explore the world. I feel that’s where our lives are headed as we enter our teen years. Just like Moshe, sometimes our greatest understanding of our Judaism is when were surrounded by others. We realize how special we are and we become grateful for the opportunity we were given. That feeling just comes alive. I have strong pride in my identity. I know there is a community behind me but, going into the world as a Jew reminds me of my roots.
Brenna- G-d talks to Moshe at the burning bush – well…. Now I’m stuck…. I have never done that, however, Just like Moshe had a moment of strong spiritual connection. I too have been able to actually pray an Amidah prayer where I feel connected to G-d. Nothing else in that moment matters and it is an amazing experience that I have had in our daily services. It’s like I’m talking to G-d the same way Moses actually talks to G-d at the bush.
Avi- Now Moshe has to prove himself to everyone with signs. I’m happy to say that Levine has been a place where I have never felt the need to do this. I find that we are an accepting community and therefore unlike Moshe I am accepted unconditionally. I don’t have to do anything accept for be myself here, and that is one reason that me and Moshe aren’t alike.
Brenna- Now here come the Ten Plagues. As President of the student government, I have never had to deal with either giving or receiving plagues, however a lot like Moshe, I have been empowered with help from Mr. Rodriguez to make good change in our school. For example, we have been volunteering for different community originations on a regular basis. We are now also trying to start a recycling program. Levine has helped me become a leader teaching me integrity and kindness, in and out of the classroom.
Avi- We can go on and on … However you get the idea … we are still following in the footsteps of Moshe, our Teacher, through this School and from the life lessons we encounter. We’d like to thank you once again for having us speak and providing this with experience and even surpassing Moshe …. As we in 8th grade will hopefully go to Israel.