In a community as ethnically, religiously and politically diverse as Great Neck, a community-wide campaign with broad participation is always heartwarming. Such was the case during a recent Hanukkah candle fundraiser for Meorot at North Shore Hebrew Academy, a new special-education school in Great Neck.
Launched in September 2017, Meorot currently hosts an innovative kindergarten-to-grade-one and second-to-third-grade after-school special-education Judaic studies program for students with learning or language difficulties. Public school students enthusiastically join Meorot classes two afternoons a week for their Judaic and Hebrew studies.
In a warm classroom community, teachers create individualized curriculum that builds on students’ strengths and supports their weaknesses. The pupils immerse themselves in Torah, prayers and holidays; study Hebrew with an emphasis on reading and comprehension; and learn social skills.
“The concept of the school originated from the simple wish to create a community for these students who would otherwise feel left out of their siblings’ shared experiences of a yeshiva education,” said Ronnie Shemesh, Meorot board member. “Our goal is to imbue each student with confidence in their own unique abilities.”
Meorot is supported by four local yeshivas: North Shore Hebrew Academy, Yeshiva Har Torah, Silverstein Hebrew Academy and Long Island Hebrew Academy.
To raise awareness of the school, as well as some funds, the PTAs of all four schools aimed to sell 200 boxes of Hanukkah candles. The project quickly snowballed to include many other Great Neck institutions and, ultimately, more than 600 boxes were sold.
Even when it was announced that the candles were sold out, people were still eager to support this new school, and additional packages were created.
To show their support, community members posted pictures of their lit Hanukkah candles at #candlesformeorot.
“We are so grateful,” said Shemesh. “This campaign exceeded our wildest expectations, and we are humbled by the support of the Great Neck community.”
Learn more at www.meorotgn.org.