Volume 30 Issue 26 27 Aug 2021 19 Elul 5781

Be the Change

Elena Rosin HSIE and Jewish Studies Teacher

Being the Change – through school and beyond

One of the great joys of being a High School teacher is watching students grow into adulthood, as they navigate their way through their teenage years. Two such former students, Sara Ehrlich and Taryn Langman (class of 2016), have grown into the remarkable young women they foreshadowed when they were among the shining stars of their Emanuel class.

As part of the online curriculum for our Year 9 Jewish Studies ‘Be the Change’ class, I invited Sara and Taryn to speak to the class via Zoom about their busy lives. They presented a detailed and inspiring talk to the Year 9 changemakers about their various social justice activities, including the many organisations they were involved in while they were still Emanuel students.

As adults, they have continued to be involved with numerous groups and activities and were able to show the students pathways to becoming more involved in helping others. Sara even surprised the class by describing her commitment to extreme sports, such as highlining!

Here are some student responses to their presentation:

Hi Taryn and Sara, I loved and was moved by your determination, and your expression through your artworks, your highlining, and your documentary skills. I really appreciate you coming in to talk to us today, and I really enjoyed it, and I would love for you to continue this with Emanuel school, as I think other people would love it as much as I did. Ben

Thank you, Taryn and Sara, for speaking to us today! I found it very interesting learning about all of the amazing volunteering opportunities that you have experienced, and how you have helped create change in our world. It has inspired me to get involved in an organisation, because I now feel empowered that I can do something that will benefit the lives of others. I find it very inspiring how you have built off what Emanuel School has taught you to make a difference. I am very grateful to have listened to your stories and experiences. Elise

Thank you so much Sara and Taryn. I had recently been wondering how I could have an impact on people’s lives while being in the Jewish bubble that I’m in. You guys really inspired me and made me realise that I can help people at my age and continue to do so. I used to think it was difficult to get involved, but I realise now how simple it is and how much it can impact a person. Arella

Thank you, Sara and Taryn, for taking the time to tell us about all the volunteering opportunities out there and your experiences with them. It was very inspiring, especially the unique way of helping the world through documentation and traveling around the world, volunteering and learning about the world around us. I also thought it was good of you to mention that we are in fact very lucky to go to a private Jewish school and that we should use the opportunity to the best of our capabilities. It has definitely inspired me to look into some of the organisations you suggested. Tamarah

Thank you, Sara and Taryn, for taking the time to talk to us and tell us all about volunteering opportunities out there and your experiences with them. It was very inspiring to hear all you have contributed to the community and society. I loved hearing about all the different ways you guys have helped the world be a better place and how you have travelled around as well. I found it very helpful how you guys talked about various organisations which I could potentially volunteer for. After hearing about your journeys, I will be trying to help out in the community and be a volunteer. Alena

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to speak with us, I really enjoyed your presentation, and I learnt a lot. I think that the ways you two have gone about making change is really futuristic and innovative. It has helped me realise how many ways there are to enact change and how age doesn’t have to be a barrier that stops you from doing it. Jasper

As we journey through the month of Elul and take stock of ourselves, we can look upon these young women as true examples of what it means to be an ‘eshet chayil’, or a woman of valour. Although there are so many challenging occurrences happening today, we can all give thanks for people like Sara and Taryn who are willing to make the effort to fix and repair the world.