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Ma’ayanot Students Perform for Charity in Heartbeats: A Night of Song, Dance and Connection

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Started several years ago by three students in the Class of 2009, Heartbeats is an annual student-created and student-directed performance open to women of the community. Each year Heartbeats organizers choose a charity to which the proceeds of that year’s performances will be donated, and over the years almost $40,000 has been donated to a variety of organizations, including Sharsheret, Miklat, Shalva, Nechamah, Yad Eliezer, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) and Chabad Children of Chernobyl.

Preparations for this year’s production, which will take place on Tuesday evening, May 19 at 7 p.m. at Temple Emeth in Teaneck, began almost a full year ago when the current Heartbeats staff, then rising seniors, were chosen: Nicole Rothenberg and Shoshana Marder were chosen as business managers, Tova Wieder and Ariana Brody as dance directors, and Avigayil Yucht and Tova Sklar as song directors. Ms. Elana Flaumenhaft, Assistant Principal for Student Life, serves as faculty advisor for the event.

As opposed to past years, when the Heartbeats staff selected the beneficiary charity, this year the entire Ma’ayanot student body was invited to vote in an online survey, and the Lone Soldier Center (in memory of Michael Levin) emerged as the most popular choice. Business director Nicole Rothenberg explained that “we hope to raise a lot of money in ticket sales, and also by selling sponsored t-shirts and business ads that will be featured in the playbill.” (The t-shirts were generously sponsored by The Rothenberg Law Firm, LLC and Ocean Home Health.) In addition to raising money, students ran a toiletries drive through which they collected two huge bags of toiletries that were shipped to the Lone Soldier Center in December.

Another innovation this year was the creation of Heart Attacks, a student-directed (by seniors Yael Bierig and Meira Levi) parody production featuring students who did not feel comfortable performing before the entire community, but still wanted to be part of the Heartbeats experience. Despite the fact that Heart Attacks was not open to the community, it still raised significant funds (almost $700!) by selling Heart Attack t-shirts (which were sponsored by IDT and sported a logo designed by Junior Elisheva Katz), by running a senior raffle, and by selling ‘heart attack’ foods, including mini hotdogs and potato knishes, during lunch on the day of the production.

A final important innovation this year is the inclusion of Sinai students. “We are introducing an inclusion dance,” explained Ms. Rothenberg, “in which the Sinai students will perform an original dance routine with Ma’ayanot students from all four grades.” Ms. Rothenberg further explained that, as was the case with Heart Attacks, this innovation was introduced to make Heartbeats “as inclusive as possible.”

For additional information, or to purchase tickets, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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