By Dr. Nechama Poyurs, Co-President, Derech Emunah High School
I was asked if I would write an article for the Newsletter - explaining why I spend so much of my time volunteering at Derech Emunah. The request came with instructions to write a “short response in no less than 500 words.” (Joking - but it was assigned by a Derech Emunah teacher).
After some thought, I realized that I just act like many within the Seward Park Jewish community. Most of us do not sit back and expect to be served all the advantages that come along with living in a much broader Jewish community. As Seattleites, when we see an inadequacy that affects us – we strive to fix it.
I helped start Derech Emunah along with Emily Alhadeff, Jessica Hoffman, and Aliza Genauer two years before it opened its doors. Mrs. Rooksie David played a vital role as our first Head of School.
Yeshaya (my husband) and I had recently moved to Seattle, and we liked it here. We loved the down to earth qualities of the families, the way the whole community reaches out when someone is in need. And more importantly, when there is a substantial communal need.
We liked the wholesomeness of the children that were friends with our girls. We appreciated the mix of varied Hashkafot (Jewish points of view) and the Achdus (unity) of the Jewish community.
Nevertheless, Yeshaya, and I were concerned. At that time,there was no all-girls high school option that would meet the needs of the Seward Park neighborhood and the greater Seattle Jewish community.
For our family to stay in Seattle, we had to ensure that there would be a quality all-girls Jewish high school in place, ready for our four girls. Bracha, our daughter, was 8 years-old at the time I started volunteering with Derech Emunah. That gave me 6 years to do my part and get an all-girls high school started.
Yeshaya and I felt that without a Derech Emunah we would have no choice but to send our girls to an all-girls high school out of town. It was clear to both of us that in such a scenario, we would all move, as a family, to another city.
Eight years later, what I learned came as a surprise. Volunteering at Derech Emunah taught me that the real power of achievement comes through a group effort. And no single person can build and maintain a community-wide institution, like Derech Emunah.
One person can uniquely change a situation. The more significant final result, such as creating and maintaining a new school, comes from a combination of many people’s influence, effort, and time.
Thank you to the fabulous Derech Emunah family, for everything you do to maintain and grow our wonderful school.