Public School Students Celebrate Year of Released Time

The Jewish Released Time program recently hosted a magnificent banquet, bringing parents and children together to celebrate the end of a year where they experienced a weekly hour of Jewish education.

The Jewish Released Time program recently hosted a magnificent banquet, bringing parents and children together to celebrate their weekly hour of Jewish education. The event was a true testament to the power of the Jewish Hour led by the incredible and dedicated rabbinical instructors.

The banquet kicked off with an electric atmosphere as families gathered on the front lawn of Shaare Tova in Kew Gardens, Queens, for a beautiful welcome cocktail hour. Rides and Moon Bounces were set up for the children and the youngsters couldn’t contain their excitement as they bounced and played, cherishing the spirit of unity and togetherness with their fellow Released Time friends.

“The mingling of all the parents and educators created an atmosphere of camaraderie,” said Alex, a proud Released Time Parent from Staten Island, “Sharing stories and experiences, we celebrated the impact of our children’s Jewish education and we ourselves gained a deeper appreciation for our heritage and traditions”.

The Released Time program provides Jewish educational classes and programs in more than 70 public schools across New York and this end-of-the-year gathering brings all the families and teachers from across New York together. 

The evening proceeded with the grand banquet dinner and awards ceremony. The banquet hall was transformed into a captivating space as the room dazzled with elegance and beauty, serving as the perfect backdrop for an evening of celebration. Singing and dancing enlivened the atmosphere, with children joyfully expressing their love for Jewish education through their favorite Released Times songs.

The emcee for the evening, Rabbi Yehoshua Shneur, captivated the audience highlighting that the banquet is a Hakhel gathering and encouraged all the students and parents to forever cherish their Jewish identity.

During the event, Rabbi Sholem Ber Hecht had the honor of recognizing the remarkable philanthropist, Mr. Yossi Popack, for his unwavering support and dedication to the program. Highlighting that Mr. Popack’s generosity and commitment to strengthening the work of Released Time uplifts the lives of thousands of children and families across New York.

The crowd then erupted with the Released Time anthem “I’m a Jew and I’m proud and I’ll sing out loud” and the room filled with 350 guests, sang and celebrated together. 

Rabbi Shimon Hecht, on behalf of the National Committee for Furtherance of Jewish Education (NCFJE), took a moment to express gratitude and appreciation to the programs director Rabbi Shazak Zirkind, and all the teachers of Released Time. “The teacher’s tireless efforts and dedication is what makes the Jewish Hour every Wednesday so powerful and impactful,” said Rabbi Hecht. “It’s because of their hard work that hundreds of children say Shema, give Tzedakah and live with a strong Jewish pride”. 

The program continued to the grand award ceremony rewarding students in recognition of their participation and growth at the program. An announcement made by Rabbi Sadya Engel added to the joyous occasion as he proudly shared that over 40 students had made the inspiring decision to continue their educational journey in Yeshivah. This milestone showcased the incredible impact of Released Time and the program’s success in guiding the next generation toward a deeper commitment to Jewish learning.

As the night drew to a close, all the children got a donut from the giant “Jewish Hour Donut Wall” and everyone’s hearts were filled with gratitude and a renewed sense of spiritual energy. “I’m leaving this banquet so inspired and uplifted and with a whole new appreciation for Torah and Judiasim,” said Inas, a proud mother of three students at Released Time. 

The banquet served as a proud testament to the incredible work of the NCFJE’s Released Time program and to the infinite power that one hour of Jewish education has. 

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  1. Beautiful!!

    Ty to all the dedicated bochrim- us guys R O C K ! !

    Rabbi Shimon Hecht- ur indefatigable drive, Simcha and hiskashrus to our King, radiates strength & Emunah!!!
    H” should be mosif Yomim Al mamlachtecha!!!!
    Biz Moshiach bekarov mamamsh!!!!

    May HKB” H bentch all of u w/his eternal

    BLESSINGS of kol Tuv סלה!!!!!!

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