Chabad Rabbi Dedicated to His Community

June 4, 2024
Avery Fox

Ashton, Maryland, United States

Class of 2025

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Maryland is a very populated state. Some areas have huge Jewish populations whereas some areas have smaller ones. Many schools have started a club to support Jewish students called JSU (Jewish Student Union). This club has made an extreme impact on my life as I live in a community where the Jewish population is less prominent. So, here’s a little bit about Sherwood High School’s JSU: there are over 30 kids involved, it is run by the Rabbi of Olney Chabad, and we complete fun activities that allow us to foster connections with our peers. 

To get a better understanding of the true impact of the JSU, I decided to interview the Rabbi and a few other students in the club. Rabbi Bentzy and his wife have been running the Chabad of Olney long enough to see their earliest Hebrew School students graduate high school and move on to college (12 years). Although this is their first year running the program at Sherwood, they “bring fun into club meetings, especially as it revolves around food and crafts.” Recently for our March meeting, we played a Kahoot to test our knowledge of the Purim story, played Minute To Win It games, and made hamantaschen. Throughout these activities like Minute To Win It, we were split into teams of 7 people, many of which I haven't even talked to before. Through this activity, I made new friends and learned there were others who shared some of the same experiences I did, especially following October 7th. As the Rabbi said, “We are not alone. We need a community of like-minded people to grow. We support each other in this journey of becoming independent and strong Jewish adults.” Well said Rabbi Bentzy.

Many of the students feel that JSU is a place for growth without being judged. One student said, “At my first meeting, I didn’t know anyone but now, I’ve made a friend and we always go up to get the kosher pizza together.” I completely agree, it’s a place for growth and friendships to be fostered but also a place to learn more about our culture and connect with each other in a school where that is not encouraged outside of the club. Another student said, “I come because it is a support system. The Rabbi and his wife make it clear that we can talk to them and ask them any questions we have.” That’s what is so amazing about JSU. Everyone is so open to helping you with whatever you need, like the Rabbi helping me with this article, thanks again for that! Thanks to Rabbi Bentzy and his wife’s dedication to JSU, it will be a constant at Sherwood High School to provide students with the support system they need to survive high school.

In exploring the impact of the Jewish Student Union (JSU) at Sherwood High School, it becomes evident that its significance extends far beyond merely providing a space for students to connect over shared cultural experiences. Through interviews with Rabbi Bentzy and fellow students, it becomes clear that JSU serves as a vital support system, fostering personal growth, community, and a sense of belonging. The essence of accountability, evident within JSU's structure, lies in the responsibility taken by the Rabbi and his wife to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students. Their commitment to organizing engaging activities and providing a platform for students to express themselves underscores the importance of accountability in nurturing community bonds. Moreover, JSU's impact highlights the value of accountability in my own life. Just as Rabbi Bentzy and his wife prioritize the well-being and growth of their students, I too recognize the significance of being accountable to those around me, whether it be in fostering connections, supporting others, or striving for personal growth. Ultimately, JSU serves as a testament to the transformative power of accountability, reminding us of the profound impact that individuals can have when they take ownership of creating inclusive and supportive communities.

Avery Fox is a BBG of Ahavah BBG #2289 from Ashton, Maryland, and loves to dance.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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