Junior Congregation

My wife and I have been leading a youth minyan at Congregation Emek Beracha for the past couple of years. We pray with the kids for 15 minutes and then play a fun, educational game for 15 minutes (e.g. Chumash Baseball). For a while we had been looking for people to help us out and give us some weeks off, but it was hard to find volunteers. Then, just a couple of months after he moved into Stanford, Amir came up to me and asked if he could help out. It was perfect timing, just when we needed the help! It’s clear that education was important to Amir not just as part of his PhD program or as his future profession — he wanted to educate children in his free time, too.

He was a little nervous before his first time leading the group, and he asked if I should help out to make sure things went well. Being excited about the day off, I told him he would be fine on his own. After the group ended and he returned to synagogue, he looked a little disconcerted. I asked him how it went, and he said, “I was too easy on them, the kids were out of control! I don’t know if I can do this…” I asked the kids later when I saw them, and they said that they had a great time with him, and that he made up a new game for them to play (I can’t remember what it was). Amir was just being hard on himself, because he cared so much about education. Amir wasn’t too easy on them, he just helped them have fun while they were learning…We’ll miss you, Amir.