This past week, the Yeshiva of Central Queens launched its Fifth Grade Midos program to help students understand the importance of developing positive character traits. Through this program, the students will learn the impact that midos tovos will have on them as individuals and on their communities and all of klal Yisrael. Run by Dr. Sarah Asher and Mrs. Elana Joffe of the school social work department, along with the fifth-grade teachers, students will participate in activities to help them develop empathy, a character trait that will carry them through their education and help them develop into strong, healthy adults.

To end off the week and prepare for the upcoming Yamim Nora’im, on Motza’ei Shabbos, the YCQ beis midrash was filled with current students, their parents, siblings and grandparents, alumni, YCQ rebbeim, and teachers for the annual Parent-Child S’lichos Learning Program. Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, rabbi of the Young Israel of Queens Valley, spoke to the participants about the importance of t’shuvah and how it brings us closer to Hashem. He also discussed how saying 100 brachos a day can entirely change the way we look at our day and change the outcome of our day for the better. Rabbi Marcus retold an anecdote by Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l, that when a person is struggling with something in his or her personal life, even saying just one brachah a day with kavanah can change how his or her day goes. This mitzvah is so important for those looking for an extra z’chus in his or her life. This all lies in the concept of understanding t’shuvah and what our ultimate goal is. The Rambam says that t’shuvah is very significant because it brings someone closer to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. If you do t’shuvah, you will be capable of a closeness to Hashem, to make a connection to the Sh’chinah. Without doing t’shuvah, we are distant from Hashem, and our prayers cannot be answered. But after doing t’shuvah, a person is connected to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, and now when he or she cries out in prayer, those prayers are immediately answered. Rabbi Marcus stated that “our ultimate goal is to build a relationship with Hashem.” In doing this, we can build other relationships in our lives, and this all comes through true connections and t’shuvah. This lesson is one that the students can bring to their daily lives as they work to build their relationship with Hashem, their families, friends, teachers, and communities that will help define the kind of adults and members of klal Yisrael grade that they will become. To end this learning program, S’lichos were led by Rabbi Moshe Hamel, JHS Judaic Studies Assistant Principal.

Photo Credit: Noah Blum (7) and Maxine Lipshitz