Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Every Girl’s Voice

Gila Arnold

Every girl deserves to thrive, insists Rebecca Aminoff. Determined to realize this dream, she set up Kol Hadassa, a unique high school in Beit Shemesh designed so that every girl can learn, grow, and blossom.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

It’s a five-minute walk from Rebecca Aminoff’s home to the local community center that houses Kol Hadassa, the alternative girls’ high school she founded and directs. During our short walk, Rebecca’s cell phone does not stop ringing with urgent phone calls.

“I’m sorry,” Rebecca apologizes, after interrupting our conversation with the third call in a row. “A family crisis came up yesterday with one of our students.”

This petite powerhouse is the address for such crises, as well as the home away from home for her students, who hail from as far away as North America and as close as the local Ramat Beit Shemesh Anglo-immigrant community.

Listening to Rebecca’s passionate descriptions, delivered in a lilting Australian accent, it’s hard not to get caught up in her enthusiasm. “These are my girls, and I want to make things as great as possible for them,” she says. “My dream was to open a school where every girl could thrive.”

It’s been quite a journey, both physical and spiritual, for Rebecca to see her dream fulfilled.


Hidden Potential

Kol Hadassa’s name hints at its mission. Hadassa — Rebecca’s mother’s Hebrew name — also denotes the idea of finding the hidden, inner potential. And as soon as you walk through the door of Kol Hadassa, you see it’s not your typical school. Some girls are talking on the couch, others are working at the computer stations in the corner, and still others are gathered around their teacher asking questions.

Learning is hands-on; a history timeline runs around the perimeter of the room, to which the girls add events as they learn about them. Another wall is filled with what looks like random pictures, until the limudei kodesh teacher, Mrs. Shana Wasosky, explains that these are mnemonic cards to help the girls remember the major events in each parshah.

But the wall that Rebecca is proudest of is painted bright pink and covered with messages and drawings from each of the girls. The story behind this wall is also the story of Rebecca’s educational philosophy.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you