At this year’s National Honor Society-Torah Chapter ceremony, 24 seniors joined the hundreds of ICJA alumni inducted into NHS in past years. Every year, more than one third of the senior class is inducted–an impressively high percentage. On top of good grades, seniors are inducted for character, community service and leadership. Senior Sara Weiss reflected on her peers’ involvement in leadership roles both in and outside of school. Although her thoughts are about the class of 2019, their class is by no means the exception.

She writes the following:

As Bnei and Bnot Torah, leadership is an essential factor of a Torah National Honor Society member. Stemming all the way from Avraham Avinu, role models have guided us in principles. Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe Aharon, Sarah, Rivka, you name it. As a member of this society, leadership is not only important to inherit from our past but it is even more important to showcase it to those around us in the present so we may impact the future.

All of the members of the Torah Chapter of NHS  are involved in various roles of leadership.

Molly Stein is head of Israel Advocacy,

Rebecca Friedman is a captain of Mathletes,

Matan Auerbach is head editor of Yearbook,

Jacob Felix and Julia Polster are co-captains of the fencing team,

Shoshi Bar-Meir is chief editor of our school newspaper,

Hadassah Gubin is on board for the Interact club,

Rebecca Quintas is a Senior Stylist for the Fashion Show,

Noah Pogonitz is Captain of the baseball team,

Ruby Grant is president of Student Council,

Tzippy David is head of HOPE committee,

Abi Brasch is head editor of Charlotte’s Web,

Jordan Benditzson is captain of the boys’ Varsity basketball team,

and Tamar Chavel started the Feminism club.

Some of us are involved in leadership positions in youth groups and organizations.

Aviva Lakser is Rosh of Bnei Akiva,

Batsheva Gubin and Taliah Soleymani are on board for NCSY,

and Tova Oliff is on board of StandWithUS.

Some of us are leaders in our shuls.

Ari Best and Sara Richter are co-presidents of Or Torah’s youth programs,

and Ethan Shulman and Yitzchak Nadoff are group leader on Shabbos.  

I am president of Skokie Cteen, an international Jewish youth group. I work with many teens worldwide to empower them and their Judaism. I am the captain of the Ida Crown Mathletes team. We work together as a team to challenge our math skills and grow in our learning. I lead the Freshman girls Minyan with Batsheva Gubin in the morning and serve as a senior leader to freshman. We both are able to be there for them when they need advice or help from a senior.

Through these various roles, we all are able to communicate a common goal and share a vision with those around us. Above all, in these roles, we teach and empower others to lead. Whether it is getting our fellow group members to keep another mitzvah or advocate for the state of Israel, we all make an impact and stand in the front of the line to guide those around us.

Personally, in my leadership roles, I want the teens in my youth group to see what they are capable of achieving growth in their Judaism. I want my math team to see how smart they are and how they can challenge themselves with various math skills. I want my freshman to see how important relationships are and that I care for them.  

The beauty of our leadership is that there is no formula for being a good leader. What makes us unique is our combined different styles of leadership. Because of our wide range of leadership styles, we can attract many different people. Using the leadership skills we learned here we can continue from our training ground and bring them into the real world.

A key to our leadership is effectively channeling our energy from Torah. We learn our middot, values, and behaviors from our history. From our Avot (patriarchs) and our Imahot (matriarchs). We devote ourselves to the growth and progress of our nation, as we are all said to be Am Echad Belev Echad (One nation with one heart.) The obligations we impose on ourselves enable us to rise against all odds and grow stronger together.

We are taught that a true leader is someone who is able to establish a connection with Hashem and realizes by faith that he/she is a mere instrument in His hands. We, the National Honor Society members of this Torah chapter, live, eat and breath this ideology. We have learned to lead both friends and community in the modern world all while having a passion for Israel and Judaism.

Many of us plan on leading in Hillels/Chabad houses around campus, becoming RA’s in their college dorms, teachers assistants, AIPAC advisors, NCSY advisors, CTeen chaperones and so much more. We are grateful for all the opportunities we have been given to become the leaders we are today and we will only continue to improve our communities and those around us using these qualities. Congratulations to all my fellow leaders being inducted tonight.