Taking lessons from contemporary life, the children of Chabad-Lubavitch representatives to Downtown Vancouver won top spots in the Public Speaking Contest Award of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver.
The judges rated the speeches based on originality, organization and presentation.
“A man walks into the Rogers Arena for the first time in his life. He has never seen a Hockey player or a Hockey game,” Sarale Bitton, who took the prize for Grade 5, said in her speech. “He is dressed properly in a nice suit, a tie, and a stylish gray hat. But when he looks around at the fans and at the players, he can’t help but wonder: ‘What are those uniforms? What are those blue shirts? They are not dressy, nor in fashion and in style? They are strange.’”
Sarale delivered her speech last week Thursday at the JCC of Greater Vancouver. A student at the Vancouver Hebrew Academy, Bitton, explained that those in the crowd and players would not be bothered by the weird look on the man’s face. “The players would continue to wear their uniforms proudly, knowing what they represent, and feel sorry for that man’s ignorance.”
Turning to her Jewish message, she said, that we have to be proud about our Jewish dress. Like the Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team, there is the Jewish uniform “just like that man who had no idea what Hockey was, others may not understand the meaning or the value of our Jewish uniforms. But we know what it means.”
Her brother, Mendel, who won second prize in the fourth grade category, spoke about one of the new AppleWatch’s features, which allows the wearer to send a friendly tap or your pulse to another AppleWatch user. “Apparently, there was a time when people just spoke to each other… in 2015 a new era has begun: We are now set to communicate without words or smiley faces – we may now send a ‘friendly tap’ or even our very own heartbeat.”
This, Mendel said, illustrates how we communicate with G-d. “We have the opportunity to wirelessly connect ourselves to Hashem [G-d], and send Him a ‘friendly tap’ or a heartbeat, a feeling coming from the deepest level of our souls,” he told the crowd in his winning speech. “Take a mitzvah, a good deed, whether it is to light the Shabbat candles on Fridays or to affix a mezuza on our door. It is a simple action, beyond words and lengthy emails, which has the ability to communicate with Hashem on the deepest level.”
Sarale and Mendel were among 120 students from three area day schools who competed in the contest. The first prize winner received a $100 Israel Bond; second prize, a $50 gift from the Federation.