News From The Hills

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By Chanita Teitz

My column hasn’t appeared for a few weeks. The week before Shavuos, we had to fly down to Miami to pay a shivah call, so I couldn’t get things together to meet my deadline. That was the week of Yom Yerushalayim. I will never forget the memories of 1967 when we heard that the Old City was captured by the IDF and the Kotel was back in Jewish hands. Non-religious soldiers looked in awe at the stones. The generals of the Israeli army came to be among the first Israelis to witness this miracle. No matter how secular, they understood the significance and holiness of the Wall.

I sent in an abbreviated column for the pre-Shavuos issue, but it didn’t make the paper that week. Then we went away for Shavuos, a two-day respite spent with family in New Jersey. And now I’m back catching up on many things, including this column.

This week I’ll be the traveling Bubbie, spending time with my kids and grandchildren while my husband is in Israel for a simcha. I’ll hit the trail and spend an evening with each family. (“The trail” is really just going house to house in Kew Gardens Hills, where they all live except for the Israeli bunch, which my husband will be staying with.)

This past week was a week of old and new scandals in Washington and I also don’t like the news I’m reading about Syrian missiles aimed at Israel. Then yesterday I heard the news of the horrific tornado in Oklahoma. I hope they find more survivors, especially the children from the school. After Shavuos we wish each other a good summer. Halevai!

Shevach High School News

On Monday evening, May 6, Shevach had “career night.” A number of different presenters representing a variety of professions spoke about their jobs. I was one of the presenters. We were five in our group and the girls were able to attend two groups’ presentations. In our group we had Shani Jacobowitz, a shaitel macher; Riki Phillips, a personal trainer; Susie Garber, a writer; Goldie Shulman, a graphic artist; and me, a real-estate broker. We each spoke for about five minutes.

I started my presentation by asking a question: How many girls, when they were little, thought of becoming a real-estate broker when they grow up? Naturally no one did. Little girls dream of other things, but not about selling houses.

Then I proceeded to tell them the educational requirements to get a real-estate license and I explained all the things that we do as realtors in the sale of a property as well as all the things that we have to know to educate the seller about the process. I told the girls that if they like the challenge of negotiating, if they are willing to work hard, and if they are good at problem-solving, then real-estate sales may be the career for them.

The other presenters in our group spoke about their profession’s educational requirements and how they gained experience. Most of our group has flexibility in working hours, and Mrs. Shulman, the graphic artist, actually works part of the time from home over the Internet. There are so many opportunities today for young women. Hatzlachah to all the girls!

Bais Yaakov News

Bais Yaakov hosted an “artifact fair” for its families several weeks ago. The cafeteria was transformed into a museum when the sixth-grade students presented their collection of artifacts they culled from their families’ histories. The room was filled with tables displaying the precious objects and the framed explanations composed by the students. Grandparents, parents, and students were enthralled with the collection and the presentations made by the students.

The students were well informed, poised, welcoming, and able to discuss their artifacts’ history. The time allotted for the event passed quickly because there was so much to fill the senses. Hearing the stories behind the more than 75 artifacts as the students proudly explained what they were showing and seeing the beautiful objects made the hour pass all too quickly.

The sixth-grade social-studies students have become museum curators. Mrs. Naomi Pacht, the sixth-grade social-studies teacher and creator of this event, said, “This project takes a lot of time and energy to prepare, but the students become passionate about the project, so it’s well worth it!” Mrs. Sarah Bergman added, “Through this project learning experience, the students gained an appreciation of what it takes to become a curator. Visiting a museum has new meaning as they understand the effort in the presentation of each artifact in a museum.”

The project began with each student finding an artifact belonging to her family. Through research, interviews, and writing, the students prepared their exhibits. Since the students selected artifacts from their families, each exhibit bears a meaningful story to the presenter. The students worked diligently for several weeks to research, analyze, and perfect their presentation. Rabbi Mordechai Gewirtz, the dean of Bais Yaakov, said, “Many of the exhibits are truly inspiring, and the girls’ explanations were a credit to them.”

In addition to the displayed artifacts, the students assembled a collection of their interviews and photographs of their exhibit. Reading their stories brings each of the exhibits to life, and they gave the visitors a glimpse of relevant history. Mrs. Karen Reisbaum had the opportunity to look at the collection, commenting, “The story behind each item was captured in a way that one could not help but be moved, and not only by the artifacts and their stories, but on the entire event.”

Mazal Tov . . .

To Rabbi and Mrs. Yehuda Shmidman on the birth of a grandson. Mazal Tov to their children Shiffy and Moshe Aron Mandel and the entire Shmidman, Niman, and Mandel families. v

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage, with offices in Kew Gardens Hills and Fresh Meadows. For all your real-estate needs in Queens, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail

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