What They Say – Students

Rachel Ash
SKA High School for Girls

Yedidya Blau
Fuchs Mizrachi

“Having these types of workshops that focused on individual prayers really transformed the way that I look at tefillah and the way I relate to and connect to God on a day-to-day basis.

“We all feel so connected to our phones, and in the workshops, Mrs. Kaminetsky asked us to imagine feeling that same way about connecting to God. So when we lose our phones, we get so frantic and we think, ‘where’s my phone, where’s my phone, where is it?’ What if we would feel that way constantly towards God — where’s God and why don’t I feel like He is in my back pocket or in my pocketbook; why are we not constantly checking on Him, talking to Him, texting Him?

“We all have those times we feel alone and there’s no one there for us but once we realize that God is always there and that He’s always listening to us and wants us to cry out to Him, and vent to Him when things are good and when things are bad, it really could really change our lives”

Chaya Sara Bodek, who graduated from SKA last June

“It was the first time I did a meditation program and it was the most powerful for me. We started thinking about the power and meaning of every single word that was put into the davening and why it was put there. The prayers seem very similar at first, but once you understand what you’re saying, you really care, and it just increased my passion for it. It was about meditating on the idea of Hashem, trying to go into depths of my mind to try to picture Hashem, His light and feel His presence all around me. The quiet meditative davening made me feel a spiritual connection to Hashem I never really felt before, and I think it will stay with me throughout my life. A year or two ago I couldn’t even get through my Shmonei Esrei without walking out. Before it was just words, and now it’s a lot greater. I can connect to Hashem whenever I need to.

Noah Fleeter, junior at Fuchs Mizrachi

The Minchah Project is a really spiritual, really amazing minyan. As opposed to being in a regular minyan where most of the kids are talking and fooling around, it’s a separate minyan where everybody wants to daven to Hashem and everybody has a lot of emunah, and we really build a close relationship with Hashem. I really enjoyed the weekly cards that (tefillah coordinator) Ms. Barris gave out to us. Every week she would give us a card explaining each of the brachot in Shmonei Esrei and it really made our tefillah a lot more meaningful because we actually understood what we were talking about and the explanations of the brachot. ”

Jasmine Namdar, sophomore at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Great Neck, NY

The Minchah Project taught me how to be able to take all my thoughts and make them more personal with God as opposed to just using the same words that everyone reads out of the same siddur all the time.

So whatever I can learn and apply to my personal life will help me become a better person and will help me take my life to the next level. What we’re trying to do is take whatever we created here in the Minchah Project, our amazing, near perfect minyan, and spread it so everyone at school can experience it.”

Ariel Homayoonfar, sophomore at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Great Neck, NY

Alec Fields, who graduated from Shalhevet High School last spring

My davening was definitely improved because of ATS … I think it allowed me to understand what I was saying and the importance of what I was saying which then enabled me to connect more to not only my davening, but by extension my Judaism, and helped immensely with my relationship with God.”