Boundaries and Limits: Special Seminar at OTS Oriya

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Brigadier-General Bluth:  “Leadership is the ability to motivate others do things without exercising authority”

 Arutz 7 Staff | 24/02/19 (translated from Hebrew)

Snapshot from the Arutz 7 website

Ohr Torah Stone’s Oriya High School for girls held a special seminar on the topic of boundaries and limits, a topic which has been tackled from various angles since the beginning of the school year.  The seminar took place after intensive preparation by the teaching staff and numerous discussions on the role of boundaries and limits in the life of adolescents, and how they form a crucial component of identity-building.  These were followed by homeroom lessons dealing with the concept of boundaries, and how one is able to set personal boundaries alongside the existing external limitations imposed on us. On the day of the seminar itself, students of all grades attended a workshop entitled, “What boundaries have I set in my social, family and religious life?”

The panel was comprised of school parents who hold public positions, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s military secretary, Brigadier-General Avi Bluth; Secretary-General of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, Amitai Porat; head of the Amnesties and Pardons Department in the State Attorney’s Office, Nochi Politis; and head of Beit Midrash Migdal Oz, Rabbanit Esti Rosenberg.  The parents gave presentations on issues related to their own workplace and pertaining to the personal boundaries in their own lives.

Oriya High School girls

The Prime Minister’s military secretary, Brigadier-General Avi Bluth, spoke of leadership and encouraged the students to take initiatives within the accepted boundaries and frameworks:  “The battlefield is the kingdom of uncertainty. Within the boundaries that are familiar to us, one needs to exercise initiative and sometimes even trickery. Real leadership in the battlefield means that through inspiration alone, one is able to motivate a group of people to do something they wouldn’t normally do.  In other words, causing them to act without exercising any authority or imposing limitations.”

Attorney Nochi Politis, who heads the Amnesties and Pardons Department in the State Attorney’s Office, spoke of legal boundaries and how one can stretch these to a limit when it comes to pardoning offenders.  “Legislation is never perfect because it is mechanical, but one cannot make do without mercy. Sometimes there are more constructive means than using the threat of penalties.”

General Bluth Delivering the lecture

The Secretary-General of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, Amitai Porat, spoke about personal and communal boundaries, saying that “personal development stems from the fact that a person does not indulge in personal needs, but accepts external limitations.  However, for personal growth, it is not only important to have personal boundaries but also to know when to cross those boundaries, when necessary.”

Rabbi Gidon Dar of Herzog College said that “boundaries create identity” and also touched upon the limitations and “fences” the Talmudic Sages imposed in matters of halakha.  “The religious rulings of our Talmudic Sages are compatible with human psychology.  The very fact that one accepts authority is an educational statement,” he said.

The panel concluded with the words of Rabbanit Esti Rosenberg, head of the women’s Beit Midrash in Migdal Oz, who posed the following question to the girls:  “What controls whom and who controls what? Do my desires and impulses control me or do I control them?” By means of stories from everyday life, she explained that “boundaries are embedded in us naturally and are an integral part of our being.  We should remember that boundaries sustain us and make us happier people, and the exception to the rule is when they make our lives more difficult.” In conclusion, Rabbanit Rosenberg wished the girls to be able to observe the mitzvot out of love, rather than through binding boundaries.

Yonat Lamberger, Principal of OTS Oriya, said at the end of the day:  “Clear and stable boundaries are essential for life in general, and in the ulpana [religious girls’ high school] framework in particular.  Nevertheless, within these boundaries, one needs flexibility, courage and the ability to break the boundaries of the self.”

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