Ma’ayanot Hosts Annual Day of Big Ideas

On Monday, January 2, more than 100 parents, grandparents, students, alumnae, and members of the community began the new year by exploring a wide array of topics presented by Ma’ayanot’s dynamic faculty at the school’s Annual Day of Big Ideas. The keynote address was presented by Dr. Leah Knapp, a clinical psychologist and teacher of Psychology at Ma’ayanot. In her lecture, “Lonely Man of Faith: Opportunities & Limitations in the Quest to Connect,” Dr. Knapp spoke about the human quest to find one’s self and purpose, as well as balance individual needs while maintaining meaningful connections with others. She presented paradigms from her private psychology practice and drew parallels from Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s philosophical work, “The Lonely Man of Faith.”

“Our relationship with God is rooted in our relationships with human beings, and it works both ways,” Dr. Knapp said. “Therapy gives individuals the space to identify a dilemma, name it, contain it, and explore it. In the process one gains validation, perspective and clarity.”

Attendees also had options to attend a series of other lectures by Ma’ayanot faculty. The topics included:

“Becoming Ruth: An Exploration of the Ideal Convert,” by English Department Chair, Ms. Samantha Kur.

“God is a Mathematician: What is His Language?” by Dr. Sofya Nayer, teacher of AP Calculus.

“Parenting by Personality: A Strengths-Based Approach Grounded in Positive-Psychology Research” by Dr. Rayzel Yaish, Director of Guidance.

“It’s the Economy, Tipesh: Does the Torah Endorse an Economic Model?” by Rabbi Donny Besser, teacher of Talmud and Halakha.

“Hamlet: Shakespeare’s Search for the Perfect King,” by English teacher, Mrs. Enid Goldberg, and

“Artificial Intelligence: A Source of Peril or Promise?” by Mrs. Orly Nadler, Co-Director of STEAM Education and Innovation.

Mrs. Tamar Appel, Ma’ayanot’s Assistant Principal, noted that the Day of Big Ideas offers an opportunity to “rejoice in the primacy we place on the study of Torah in all its facets, as well as in the rich role that the liberal arts, sciences, and social sciences play in our development as people and as ovdei Hashem.”

For alumna Naima Hirsch (‘15), attending the Day of Big Ideas was an chance to continue learning from some of her favorite high school teachers. “It’s like coming back home,” she said.

Recordings of the Annual Day of Big Idea sessions can be found at