Hadar Bet Yaakov students enjoyed public speaking and debate classes this year under the guidance of one of the Jewish world’s best public speakers: Rabbi YY Rubinstein. Both 9th and 10th grades had a semester of public speaking, where each student crafted and presented speeches, and the 10th grade went on for another semester to focus on debate.

The public speaking class culminated with creating the HBY Public Speaking Team to go up against another Brooklyn girls’ school. Each team had four students, and girls had to speak for three minutes on Judaic topics oriented to different audiences. Girls were instructed to prepare a speech that was relatable to either a frum (Orthodox) audience, a non-frum (non-Orthodox) audience, or a mixed audience. Rabbi YY Rubinstein moderated the day’s events, along with a panel of judges, and students presented beautiful divrei Torah, family stories, and personal anecdotes with underlying themes and messages conveyed with clarity.

HBY girls left uplifted by the experience and gleaned much from their first year of public speaking as well as their first competitive event. “We only lost by four points,” noted 10th grader team member Rachel Babakhanov. “And it’s our first time doing a public speaking class.” Students enjoyed meeting girls from another school and looked forward to next year when the pool of participating Bais Yaakov schools would grow as more schools recognized the value of public speaking for girls in building leadership and character.

 By Shoshanna Friedman