The greater New York metro area was bombarded by a devastating and fast-moving storm of sleet and snow on Thursday, Nov.15. Stein Yeshiva was not only prepared, but had the opportunity to test their “sheltering-in” protocol for a disaster response.
As the storm hit early afternoon, emails were sent out to parents recommending that they pick up their children as early as possible. Buses arrived early and many students left early. At dismissal time, anxious parents started to call in, telling of huge traffic gridlock everywhere and their inability to get to school for dismissal. The staff reassured the parents that their children were happy and safe with the Stein Yeshiva staff. Parents were told not to worry and to drive to the yeshiva safely.
The snow emergency program went into action. Students were divided into age groups, including four babies, with appropriate programming. The students were fed a dinner of bagels and cream cheese, along with other food items stored in the yeshiva kitchen. Younger children were read to and put to bed on their mats or cribs as the staff awaited the arrival of the parents. Parents were contacted regularly using the yeshiva’s Early Childhood app with teachers messaging the parents to reassure them that their children were safe and content. The bulk of the remaining students were picked up between 10 and 11 p.m. At that time, some teachers braved their way home to Riverdale, while Principal Rabbi Cherns and two other teachers spent the night in the yeshiva building. It was like a Stein Yeshiva shabbaton on a Thursday!
Parents arrived at the yeshiva with stories of the horrendous traffic that made their drives to the yeshiva take two to seven hours. The exhausted parents walked into the building with tears in their eyes while being welcomed with a cup of hot tea and a big hug. Parents expressed Hakaras Hatov to the staff of Stein Yeshiva who, on what turned out to be a devastating stormy night, put the needs and comfort of the young children ahead of their own need to get home, and provided a warm and loving environment for the children.
By Sharon Pollock