Good evening. My name is Alon Rogow and I am an eighth grader at The Davis Academy. I am a member of our Middle School Leadership Training Institute (MSLTI) as a Student Government representative and I will be giving a D’var Torah tonight, which is a short speech or lesson interpreting the weekly Torah portion.
This week’s parsha is called Ki Tavo. The parsha contains many important teachings and themes. The theme that I would like to focus on for my D’var Torah is that of ‘blessings and curses.’ In this parsha, we see Moses explain that the Israelites will be blessed if they follow the mitzvot but that they will be cursed if they disobey. Mitzvot teach us morality, compassion, justice and humility. These mitzvot are not just laws that we are obligated to follow, but they are meant to help guide us to live our lives in a righteous manner. Moses gives the Israelites a choice—if they choose to follow the mitzvot not only will they have many blessings, but they will also BE a blessing. You may think the choice was easy, but some Israelites could not follow the mitzvot. Of course, as you can imagine, most of them made the right choice, which is part of why we are all gathered here today to celebrate the Jewish community of Sandy Springs.
As I mentioned, I am an 8th grader at The Davis Academy. I consider myself blessed to be able to go to such an amazing Jewish school. Among the many opportunities that me and my classmates have at Davis, we have many opportunities to be a blessing. For example, every year, as a Davis Academy middle school, we work together to raise money for various charities. We do this through bringing in tzedakah as well as through various competitions between grades, where we compete against one another to see who can bring in the most money. At the end of the competition, the money is donated to a charity of our choice. On a more personal note, I am always eager to help others, whether it’s with school work or with a personal situation, I am always willing to lend a hand. Also, I am welcoming to everyone and always like to include others and make them feel like they are a part of the group. Recently, I participated in the Macabbi games. I was on the soccer team and we were lucky enough to have two players join us from Israel. They spoke little to no English. Because of my Davis Academy education, I was able to communicate with them and welcome them to the team and to our community. Spending time with them and getting to know them was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and one that I will never forget.
I know that The Davis Academy is only one of the many wonderful Jewish communities in Sandy Springs. Even as an 8th grader I have visited many synagogues for different activities and Bar Mitzvahs. I know that our entire Sandy Springs Jewish community is a blessing, which is why we are here tonight to celebrate our history and how far we’ve come. I am thankful that our school is able to be a part of such an incredible exhibit and I’m honored to be a part of the program tonight. Thank you for listening to my D’var Torah and Mazal Tov to all.