On Thursday, December 3, Shevach High School students were fired up for their annual sh’miras ha’lashon program through an exciting breakout. The girls entered Shevach’s Multi-Purpose Room to find it expertly decorated with fire-related artwork and explosive materials. One wall portrayed a line of erupting volcanoes, entitled “Let Positivity Explode.” Another wall featured a fire extinguisher (“Extinguish Negativity”), a pile of bonfire logs (“How ‘Wood’ You Feel?”), and a Smokey the Bear poster (“One Word Can Spark a Forest Fire”).

Eleventh grade Mishmeres heads Aviva Keller, Devorah Lesser, and Chani Miller, under the leadership of advisor Mrs. Sarah Davidson, did a phenomenal job of encouraging the students to “ignite your speech,” the theme of this year’s Mishmeres breakout. They explained that just as fire spreads quickly and uncontrollably, causing severe damage in a matter of seconds, so does lashon ha’ra. On the other hand, just as fire warms everything around it, so can our speech spread positivity and kindness.

Mr. Michael Rothschild, Director of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, spoke next in a video presentation on the importance of proper speech. He emphasized that when we speak properly, we not only earn reward in the Next World, but we have a happier and more enjoyable life here. Instead of focusing on the negative effect of improper speech, we should focus on the positive. Mr. Rothschild offered the catch phrase “I’d rather not hear that” as a gentle way to stop someone speaking disparagingly of another, and put us on the path to a better life.

The room was “exploding” with energy as the Mishmeres heads ended the breakout with an original, exciting, and catchy theme song. Each student also received an adorable personalized stress ball imprinted with “De-stress, don’t explode” to remind them to hold back from speaking negatively. Everyone left “glowing” with inspiration and fired up to start this year’s Mishmeres program.