Expo at BYLA Inspires and Educates
Last week, the 10th grade at Bais Yaakov Los Angeles (BYLA) hosted a magnificent Torah Expo—an exhibit with a display and a creative activity on each mitzvah listed in the mishnah, “Eilu Devarim,” which we say every day in davening. Entitled The Sky’s the Limit, the expo educated and inspired not only the tenth graders themselves, but also their parents, other BYLA students, and the older grades of Tashbar Sephardic Yeshiva Ketana, Toras Emes Academy, and YAYOE, who came to see it.
Guided by their teacher, Mrs. Gila Gettinger, the tenth grade split into groups. Each group designed its own exhibit display and an activity for the visitors. True to the theme, there was no limit to the girls’ creativity. For example, for the mitzvah of pe’ah, the girls focused on sharing one’s gifts—a value that goes far beyond agriculture. Their activity was based on the popular book, Yiddishe Kop. The visitors were handed a picture of girls in a classroom, and they had to answer questions relevant to the topic, such as which girl feels excluded.
For the mitzvah of bikkurim, the girls built a farm wagon, and the activity involved building baskets. For hachnasas kallah, each visitor got to participate in making real wedding shtik—dancing props that will be donated to a gemach for use at weddings. For kibbud av v’eim, visitors had to answer questions on the subject. For gemilus chassadim, visitors watched a video taken with a hidden camera, where the girls conducted an experiment. First, they dropped some paper towels on the floor and waited for somebody to pick them up. Many people simply walked by. Then they dropped a dollar on the floor, which got picked up sooner. They discussed the results of their experiment and its implications in doing chessed.
For the mitzvah of re’ayon, the girls created a beautiful display about aliyah l’regel. The activity included a litmus test, where the visitors got to measure how much they wait for mashiach. They were given strips of pH paper, which they had to dip into different solutions, depending on their answers to the questions.
The final stop at the expo was an inspiring video on the subject of talmud Torah keneged kulam. Girls interviewed several BYLA alumni—some of them Kollel wives and others whose husbands work and strive to maintain a Torah atmosphere in their homes.
Much work and dedication went into every single exhibit, and the tenth graders feel that they learned a lot from this experience. Responding to a survey after the expo, they listed valuable takeaways, such as meeting new friends, learning to work together with different people, especially those they wouldn’t have chosen to work with, learning to manage their time, coming up with creative ideas and pursuing them, learning responsibility, and discovering their own strengths and talents.
The girls also learned much about mitzvos and tefillah. “Now I really pay attention in davening when I’m saying ‘Eilu Devarim.’ It’s such a beautiful tefillah,” wrote one student.
“I learned to apply the mitzvos daily,” wrote another.