As shared by Jill Goldberg

Yom Kippur 2018, Town of Oyster Bay Chabad.

It is an honor and a pleasure to be asked to speak about the Town of Oyster Bay Hebrew School.  My daughter, Arden who is now in the 9th grade at Syosset High School was a student at the Hebrew school and celebrated her Bat Mitzvah almost 2 years ago in October of 2016.

I never had the opportunity to attend Hebrew school.  However, my brother did and all I heard was complaining about how boring it was and always questioning my parents why he had to go.   They saw how miserable he was, so opted not to send me. As I grew up, I was saddened at having missed that opportunity. I was celebrating all the Jewish holidays with family and living a traditional Jewish life, but lacked any knowledge of my religion or why or what we were actually celebrating.  I knew I wanted much more for my children.

Hebrew school would be a must for my children, but I wanted to make sure I could find a place where my children would actually enjoy going…. A place where learning would be easy, fun and relatable, a place where teachers would be patient and caring and enthusiastic.  A place where the curriculum would be hands on with crafts and food and music. And most importantly, a place where my children WANTED to go… as I am not a fan of whining. ☺

The Town of Oyster Bay Hebrew School went beyond all of those expectations.  Arden was actually excited to go each week! She, learned Hebrew easily through Aleph Champ and absorbed so much about Judaism.  In fact, she was teaching and correcting all of us during holiday meals. One of her most favorite memories was when they all went to the Home Depot to build their own menorahs.  It was such a sense of community building those menorahs while listening to live music in the aisles!

The main reason however of why I love this Hebrew school goes beyond the classroom.  It has to do with the kindness, character and devotion of Rabbi Lipszyc. You see, I also have a son named Jake.  Jake has cerebral palsy. He has numerous developmental disabilities and is permanently confined to a wheelchair.  No way could Jake sit through traditional Hebrew school to become a bar mitzvah. I didn’t know what to do as many local synagogues told me they couldn’t work with him or find a way to make it happen.  I decided to ask Rabbit Lipszyc if it would be possible to have a B’nai Mitzvah so Arden’s brother could participate and become bar mitzvah with his younger sister. Without ANY hesitation, the rabbi said “of course”!  And with excitement and joy, the Rabbi started planning and including Jake in the service. It was never a question of can we do this? It was… Let’s do this.

In the months ahead, the Rabbi introduced us to Chaya, his wonderful and caring daughter who worked with Arden in preparations for her Bat Mitzvah.  These weekly lessons were not only spent on Bat Mitzvah prep but also served as a mentorship for Arden. Chaya is an amazing role model for young woman.  She is Strong and confident and passionate about Judaism. Arden very much enjoyed her time learning with Chaya and she did an incredible job preparing her for her Bat Mitzvah.

Well, the big day came and both Arden and Jake had a very special B’nai Mitzvah.  A day I will never forget. The sun was shining through this beautiful room on a crisp fall day and you could see the leaves turning into hughes of red and yellow and orange. The room was filled with friends and family and Rabbi Lipszyc led a most memorable service….one that we all still talk about to this day.   I was indeed fortunate to find this gem of a Hebrew school and encourage all to help maintain its growth and ability to teach many students in the future.



Thank you 

Everyone is complimenting us on the services, two people wish they would have had their children attend your hebrew school when we told them about it as they had their Bat Mitzvahs and were not near as happy with the services as they were impressed our service. 

You helped make a very special occasion extra special and memorable.

Douglas G. Hilfman