The week of February 4 was designated as “PAUSE – Pausing and Understanding Speech’s Effect – Week” at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, giving the students an opportunity to examine the importance of proper verbal expression and the effects of negative speech.

This student-led initiative, under the direction of teacher Mrs. Sheva Mezei, was introduced to the school after a 10th Grade Project-Based Learning Chumash class studied what happened to Miriam when she spoke lashon ha’ra about Moshe Rabbeinu.

To kick-start the week, the SKA students heard from educator Mrs. Suri Weingot, who shared ideas and personal anecdotes on how to speak and act positively. Student groups, led by faculty members, then discussed the power of social media and the significance of what is being posted. A Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation gripping video on what happens when a negative post goes viral stressed the impact and consequences of an act that can never be taken back.

Among other voluntary forums this week was a dynamic PAUSE chat with English teacher Mrs. Shira Manne, who shared personal stories related to the importance of sh’miras ha’lashon in our lives. A PAUSE cards Q&A workshop on the laws of sh’miras ha’lashon was held in the SKA library and elicited frank discussions among the girls. Fresh potato kugel was a special treat for those who participated.

For continued inspiration, each SKA student received her own copy of sefer Chofetz Chaim arranged for daily study. Our thanks go to Mrs. Mezei and her committee members for their work in making this week so meaningful.