As with every ARISTA National Honor Society Chapter, MAY has its own unique requirements for students to be members of this elite academic society. Top grades are required; consistent attendance a must; proper conduct, mandatory. And, something more unique, every member must accept upon themselves a significant chesed project to be performed throughout the school year. The mesivta provides ample opportunities, both within the yeshiva and after school, and boys can also find a project of their own. Chesed is an essential component to being a complete ben Torah, something which the yeshiva tries to cultivate in its talmidim.
Additionally, the ARISTA Chapter at MAY throughout the year undertakes group chesed projects, encouraging not only its members to get involved, but the entire student body. This past week, the mesivta learned of a boy in Eretz Yisrael who already had his bar mitzvah, but could not afford a pair of tefillin. Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, the menahel, suggested that this be an ARISTA group chesed project. To launch this project, senior and ARISTA president Gavriel Guttman delivered a passionate plea to his fellow students at the mesivta’s Chanukah mesibah encouraging his peers to participate in this great mitzvah.
Immediately, one senior decided to pledge $20 to the cause. This spurred Rabbi Yaffe to open the floor for bidding. The response was overwhelming. By the end of the day, the yeshiva had raised well over the requisite $750, all coming from the pockets of the students (and staff) of Ateres Yaakov.
“Chesed is not simply a part-time project,” commented Rabbi Yaffe. “It is part and parcel of being a ben Torah. That is what we feel at the mesivta, and that is what we experienced here today.”