About The Tefillah Initiative
Legacy 613 launched the Tefillah Initiative in 2016-2017, partnering with NCSY and six innovative yeshiva high schools across the USA. The students learned much about the daily Shacharit and Minchah prayers they recite during the school day, but more importantly, they learned how prayer can connect us to God. The pioneer program was extremely successful, taking tefillah education and inspiration to a whole new level and changing the way students relate to their davening on a personal level.
The participating six schools were:
• Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood, Ohio
• SKA High School for Girls in Hewlett Bay Park, NY
• Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles
• Kohelet Yeshiva High School in Merion Station, Pennsylvania
• Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) in New York, NY
• North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck, NY
The goal was to create a collection of best practices and the most effective and inspirational tefillah programs that can be replicated in schools across the country. Each school appointed tefillah coordinators to develop innovative inspirational programming and special projects to “reimagine prayer” and improve the quality of the tefillah experience for their students. With funding, educational expertise, and guidance provided by Legacy 613, these schools experimented with different approaches to tefillah and shared their experiences, challenges, resources and materials in monthly conference calls.
Because meaningful tefillah is personalized − involving the mind and the heart − designing and developing each school’s unique tefillah models included gathering invaluable input from their students. This process empowered the students to help create experiences within the parameters of halachah (Jewish law) that made tefillah meaningful and inspirational for them and for their peers.
Legacy 613 has assessed the effectiveness of each of the school programs and is expanding the Tefillah Initiative to several more schools in the 2017-2018 school year including DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere, NY; Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie, IL.; Bnei Akiva Schools of Toronto, and Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central) in Hollis, NY. Legacy 613 and the schools will build on the most effective programming developed during the pilot year of the Tefillah Initiative.