As a school year winds down, and warm summer weather makes outings, parks and recreation more tantalizing than the classroom, it can be challenging to keep students motivated to continue learning. Though we know that limud Torah is a year-round activity, not confined to the school environment and calendar, and that each day lost impacts upon the future, how does one impress that upon students, when the world around them is in vacation mode? Yeshiva Ohr Boruch, the Veitzener Cheder, has a solution, to which its talmidim respond with enthusiasm. The last weeks of the Cheder year are dedicated to the premise that the focal point of Jewish life is ruchniyus, spiritual pursuits, within whose framework gashmiyus, our material pursuits and activities, must conform. This period is often a zman chazorah, to review the year’s limudim. It includes set times when grades four and up learn b’chavrusa in the Bais Medrash, under the guidance of their Rebbeim, using specially composed worksheets to enhance their understanding and retention. During the last three days of Cheder, the pace intensifies; these days are devoted exclusively to Limudei Kodesh, not only for chazorah, but also to generating a ruach akin to Simchas Torah. In this milieu, the Eighth Grade celebrates its Chag HaSiyum graduation dinner with their Rebbeim, Parents, Grandparents, and relatives. This year’s graduates not only made a siyum on Perek haMafkid, but also on the entire Shishah Sidrei Mishnah, in memory of a classmate’s mother, a”h. On Monday, davening was followed by a solid hour of learning in the Bais Medrash Grades Four through Eight. The kol Torah resounded throughout the building as they learned with great hasmodoh – one would think he was in a Yeshiva Gedolah! The talmidim then adjourned to the auditorium, where they were joined by First through Third Grades for a festive siyum brunch, and representatives of each of the older classes made siyumim and said divrei Torah. There is always a guest Rav who gives the talmidim divrei chizuk at the siyum, exhorting them to conduct themselves during the summer as befits a Ben Torah, and to devote appropriate amounts of time to maintain what they have learned during the year. This year’s speaker, Cheder Parent HaRav Efraim Twerski, shlit”a, of Khal Chasidim, focused on the importance of appropriate attire and conduct as a means of reinforcing Torah values. After a spirited Birkas HaMozon, Pre-1A through Eighth Graders danced with great fervor to niggunim extolling limud Torah and ahavas Torah.On final day of the Cheder year, in addition to learning in class, prizes awarded to participants in the Cheder’s Pesach and Shavuos hasmadah programs, and a hot lunch, all grades assemble in the auditorium for the Grand Finale. A PowerPoint presentation of the year’s highlights is shown, and a prominent Odom Godol addresses the talmidim. Last year, Gedolim of Eretz Yisroel addressed them, in specially made videos. This year’s speaker, the Zidichover Rebbe, Rav Eichenstein, shlit”a, a long-time Cheder Grandparent, told the talmidim to be proud of their Yiddishkeit, remember that we represent Hashem Yisborach and His Torah, and act accordingly.
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