Our Stories

Student Tefilah Committee Presents New School Ark

October 6, 2016 by Sharon Freundel (Community)

The Tefilah Committee is a volunteer group of students in Grades 3 to 6 whose goal is to make Tefilah (prayer) a better and more meaningful experience for all the students. This fall, the Committee presented the newly restored ark, which will be used by third, fourth, and fifth graders during tefilah. The ark was unveiled to the 3rd-6th grade students during Big Tefilah.

Each and every detail of the ark was designed and created by the 2015-2016 5th-6th grade Tefilah Committee, which included several students who graduated last year. The new ark has a hand-sewn curtain made out of recycled JPDS-NC T shirts. The curtain shows a sailboat with “JPDS-NC” written on the boat and “613” on the sail, to represent the mitzvot and to show how all of us are on a journey together. The hand-painted interior has a shaded ombre effect going from dark to light to dark again, with clouds painted on the ceiling to show the sky. The Ner Tamid (eternal flame) will be switched off, alternating between an orange lava lamp and glowing rock.

Kol Hakavod to our 2015-2016 Tefilah Committee students – Sammy R (’16), Yael N (’16), Rochelle B (’16), Jennifer N (’16), Anna W (’16), Johanna L (’16), Feven A (’16), Naomi M (’16), Rebecca B (’16), Rebecca G (’16), Adina S (’17), Zoe G (’17), Redeat G (’17), Dora S (’17), Miriam Y (’17), and Shoshana B (’17) – for their vision and dedication in restoring the ark so beautifully. Special thanks also go to Maya G (’22) and Alex N (’23) for their crucial assistance with the project.

This ark restoration follows previous Tefilah Committee projects, which included a PowerPoint presentation by Gabriel K-G that displays inspirational pictures to help focus student’s minds during tefilah, a Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals) slideshow to display during Birthday Lunch with thematic images to help our youngest students understand what they are saying, and a student-designed cover for another ark, donated by the Kanter-Goodell family, that features a two-sided curtain with a light blue background and the skylines of Washington, D.C., and Jerusalem on the bottom. Then, when the ark is opened, a mass of bright colors around a tent is displayed, symbolizing the openness of Abraham’s tent. The Tefilah Committee also organizes holiday activities, including Biyur Chametz (Burning Leavened Items) before Passover and a Bikurim (First Fruits) ceremony for Shavuot.

Yasher Koach to our Tefilah Committee students for their creative, collaborative, spiritual process in designing beautiful and meaningful tefilah experiences for all the students at JPDS-NC.