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.

Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”