Manhattan musings: Blood drive, Holocaust quilt, charity


This week, Manhattan High School for Girls was filled to the brim with special and exciting events! Amazingly enough, MHS had its first-ever blood drive. From April 29th through May 1st, eleventh and twelfth graders went to the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital nearby to donate blood. Two twelfth graders, Freda Bader and Rachel Gozland, initiated and organized this event, with the help of Mrs. Milka Weisz, the school nurse and administrator. Many students signed up to take part in this great mitzvah. Although we expected them to come back all tired and worn-out, they had smiles on their faces, glad that they had taken advantage of a wonderful opportunity to give to others in such a vital and meaningful way. As Freda said, “Blood isn’t something you can make, but it’s something that’s necessary to keep people alive, especially people with cancer. When there’s a surgery, they can use a dozen or more bags of blood.” And she added with a smile, “It’s a mitzvah that really goes from heart to heart.”

As surprising as it sounds, MHS Seniors ’13 are almost graduating! In fact, they already got their grade sweatshirts, which indicates a mark of passage in MHS. In addition, on Monday, the seniors had a luncheon for the school to raise money for their end-of-the-year trip to Lake George that is fast approaching. Girls made and served delicious soups, salads, pastas, and desserts. The luncheon definitely filled people’s stomachs with yummy food, as it ended up being a great success.

In conjunction with the Advanced Computer Graphics class, the Holocaust Studies class created a Holocaust Memorial Quilt in memory of the kedoshim (martyrs). This work of art was presented to the students and was put on display in the front lobby. Under the direction of Ms. Rachel Licht, the students of Holocaust Studies researched and wrote on prominent Jewish figures, such as Rabbi Zusha Friedman, Rebbetzin Elisheva Chana Carlebach, and Gisi Fleischman, as well as famous institutions, like the Telshe Yeshiva. Under the guidance of Mrs. Rachel Friedman, the ACG class designed artworks, each of which portrayed a different character or place. These pieces of art were then combined into a quilt, as a tribute to those who were murdered during the Holocaust, having sanctified Hashem’s Name.

On Tuesday, the tenth grade had a mother-daughter brunch, and the next day, the seniors followed-up with their own brunch, both of which included student choirs and speeches given by the grade mechanchot (educators).

In addition to these events, the Tzedakah Committee organized a Chinese Auction, collecting funds for Lev L’Achim, which is an organization that teaches Torah and brings a Jewish flavor to the lives of not yet religious children. The items that were auctioned-off included prizes and teachers’ privileges, the top two prizes being an iPad and an iPod mini.

Lastly, subsequent to the twelfth graders’ completion of their family history projects, a glass showcase was put up to display some of their heirlooms along with descriptive captions. Among these antiques were a tarnished, silver menorah with a silver dreidel and a 113-year-old gravy boat. In Ms. Chani Gotlieb’s Jewish History course, the students of the twelfth grade had to amass data about their family trees, histories, as well as anecdotes, and then compile it into a scrapbook. In addition to this assignment, they were encouraged to bring in family heirlooms to be put on display to bring their family projects to life. The twelfth graders also had to prepare a story or some facts that they thought were the highlight of their projects, as well as what they learned from working on this assignment.