Despite the Corona-virus, The Nurturing at DROR Continues
Hello again to our valued readers! You’ve been missed! Generally, we get a chance to catch up at the Jerusalem Marathon and the dinner that precedes it, but this year, plans have certainly changed. We’re pretty disappointed, but are glad to be safe and well, and looking forward to the updated run date of November 6, 2020. We’re hoping you can join us, either in person or as a virtual participant! We would love to see you and thank you in person for your support and fundraising efforts. We are praying you are well and making the most of this challenging period we find ourselves in, however possible.
January 2020 began with our annual Shabbaton preparations. The winter rain couldn’t diminish the excitement we felt-- spending a weekend at the pastoral Machseya guesthouse just outside Bet Shemesh. The focus of the Shabbaton was awakening ourselves to issues in society, as well as appreciating those around us. We spent several weeks planning, baking desserts, preparing interactive games, and organizing thought-provoking workshops. We were so impressed with our young women. They took this opportunity to learn about their peers, discover their mentors’ values, and recognize the good in themselves and others.
The Purim season brought a change in leadership at DROR. Our Director, Esti Zecharia, left after three incredible years on the job. We deeply appreciate Esti’s investment in DROR – her nonstop attention to our students, her professionalism, and her interesting and meaningful activities for us all. We hosted a goodbye celebration for her, which featured videos from the staff, notes and gifts from the students, homemade sushi, and lots of hugs. Esti prepared a list of tips-- her wishes for us; to keep dreaming, take control of our lives, try something new, forgive, learn, and listen. We thank Esti for providing DROR with a framework and a standard that we will do our best to maintain.
We’re so pleased to introduce Yehudit Or as our incoming Director. She is a resident of Yeshuv Dolev, married and with two little girls. Yehudit has a background in education, theater, and has experience working with young women. Her first task at DROR was to organize a delivery of Mishloach Manot, food packages before the Purim holiday, to ALL of the DROR staff and students. We also enjoyed a special DROR Purim celebration. We dressed up in our finest evening wear, prepared ice cream sundaes, and decorated masks. We discussed the role of metaphorical masks in our lives, in terms of the image we choose to project to the world.
Despite starting her role shortly before Corona descended on Israel, Yehudit and the staff have worked to bring consistency and warmth to our students. We have continued our weekly tutoring sessions, and each week we choose a theme for our students, such as gratitude. We prepared activity sheets before the Pesach holiday, and setup several virtual events, such as continuing learning sessions via Zoom each week and celebrating Yom Hazikaron and other holidays.
Looking through the student surveys that were conducted around this year’s halfway point, we noticed there was a word that was repeated again and again—השקעה—investment. DROR prides itself on investment throughout all our activities and events. We invest in our staff and students. This manifests itself in many ways -- small gifts around the holidays, cute swag for the marathon and Shabbaton periods, hot drinks and cookies at our weekly learning center, and themed décor.
This is much more than a decorative, superficial choice -- it’s part of the message we are trying to convey to our DROR students and family. The message is, YOU MATTER. You are important to us. You have a special place in our hearts, and we are happy to go the extra mile for you. We are happy to stop what we’re busy with and appreciate you. We want our students to internalize and spread this message to the world. We want to inculcate thoughtfulness and gratitude into each step they take. We want them to experience sensitive and meaningful interactions with others.
We have about eight weeks remaining until the end of the school year. We plan to take advantage of the remaining time to pursue opportunities for learning and growth. We hope the coming weeks are productive and healthy for us all. We look forward to an exciting summer, and to sharing it with you.