Yeshivat Frisch celebrated Chanukah this past week with school-wide davening and menorah lighting—including special performances by the Frisch Cougar Chorus—contributing to the Bergen County Chanukah Toy Drive, volunteering with Friendship Circle Camp and raising money through Kahal, Frisch’s student tzedaka organization. This year’s fundraiser will benefit Project S.A.R.A.H. and Magen David Adom. In addition, engineering students and fab lab-goers created chanukiyot and artwork that lit up and adorned the Frisch hallways.
Yeshivat Frisch celebrated Zot Chanukah, the eighth and final day of the festival, with its fantastic annual chagiga: Frisch on Fire! The chagiga featured music, dancing, games and a silent auction. The Frisch students were joined by participants from Friendship Circle Winter Camp, which provides a safe and fun camp experience for Jewish special needs students during their winter break from public school. Friendship Circle Winter Camp is physically based at Yeshivat Frisch, and Frisch juniors and seniors volunteered with the campers throughout the week.
Earlier in the week, Yeshivat Frisch welcomed over 200 grandparents for its second annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day on December 26. The grandparents learned with their grandchildren b’chavruta in the beit midrash, attended a class together and stayed for the school-wide menorah lighting for the fifth night of Chanukah! The day was a fantastic opportunity for intergenerational learning, as well as for all the bubbies and zaidies, omas and opas, grandmas and grandpas, and savtas and sabas to see firsthand where their grandchildren learn every day! The event was coordinated by Frisch’s Director of Development Joey Small and Alumni Coordinator Cheryl Leiser.
Within the classroom, students had the opportunity to delve into special topics of interest within the Modern Orthodox world. Freshman Gemara classes had a week-long unit over Chanukah about the integration of Torah u’Madda, a concept at the heart of modern Orthodox philosophy. Utilizing sources from the Gemara, rishonim and acharonim, the unit dealt with the primacy of learning Torah, the value of secular knowledge in its own right and from the practical perspective of getting a job. The unit served as an introduction to other topics that will be touched on this year from a Torah perspective, including literature and its limits, evolution and Judaism’s approach to Christianity and Islam. Chanukah served as an auspicious time to complete the unit, as the holiday highlights the tension that can arise between the religious and secular realms.
Meanwhile, select junior and senior Chumash classes listened to Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s 1978 dvar Torah on Parshat Beha’alotcha, a Torah portion which begins with Aharon Kohen Gadol’s commandment to light the menorah in the Mishkan. The students had the opportunity to hear the Rav’s voice for the first time, and learn his approach to the unity of the stories in this parsha. They were tasked with identifying one thing that surprised them, two things they already knew and three things that they learned from the shiur.
Throughout the week of Chanukah, Yeshivat Frisch’s Judaic Studies sections enjoyed Chanukah parties at the homes of Frisch faculty members. Everyone had a blast with food, friends, kumzitzes, divrei Torah and getting to know their teachers’ families!