In the photo, back row from left: Eric Maurer, Naomi Rosenfeld, Alyssa Bogdanow, Rachel Eisen, Ariel Hausman, David Korenthal, Joel Abramson. Front row from left: Zach Bronstein, Sara Miller, Teri McGuire, Alena Gomulina.

Hornstein Class of 2016, Brandeis University

The following is the speech given by Naomi Rosenfeld during the Hornstein Program's Class of 2016 commencement ceremony on May 22, 2016. Naomi's speech honors her cohort, shown above. 

Our Class

By Naomi Rosenfeld MA/MBA’16

In April, our class sat around our respective Passover seder tables and sang one of my favorite Jewish tunes, "Echad Me Yodea?" ("Who Knows One?"), a traditional cumulative tune believed to have originated with German Jewry in the 15th century. You might be wondering why this song is my favorite. After all, it can appear a little juvenile at first. But "Echad Me Yodea" represents more than just a fun children’s song. "Echad Me Yodea" is a succinct way of helping the Jewish people remember important historical highlights and lessons, especially when transitioning from one stage of existence—slavery, to another—freedom.

So, today, on the cusp of what is, in some ways, our own transition from slavery into freedom, I ask….

Who knows one? I know one. One is American Jewish history, a topic full of lessons for Jewish professional leaders that we learned to value and utilize in our American Jewish Community in Historical Perspective class.

Who knows one?

Who knows two? Erica knows two. Two are the paradoxical elements of Israel's identity the Jewish and democratic, the particular and the universal that we struggled with throughout our two Kraft Seminars on Contemporary Israel.

Who knows two?

Who knows three? Ari knows three. Three are the rounds of the "Hine Mah Tov" o'manayim medley that we sang repeatedly throughout the south of Israel on our Kraft Seminar trip there this past winter.

Who knows three?

Who knows four? Rachel knows four. Four are the types of validity with which we learned to vigorously assess research in our evaluation class.

Who knows four?

Who knows five? Alyssa knows five. Five is the percentage threshold of statistical significance with which we learned to reject any null hypothesis in statistics class.

Who knows five?

Who knows six? Eric knows six. Six are the Jewish leadership frameworks we learned in our ProSeminar course that have framed the rest of our learning over the last two years.

Who knows six?

Who knows seven? Zach knows seven. Seven is the number of times we learned to thank each of our donors according to our Jewish philanthropy and fundraising class.

Who knows seven?

Who knows eight? Alena knows eight. Eight is the number of days we spent traveling as a cohort to the Former Soviet Union, giving us a slight window into the experiences of Russian-speaking Jewry.

Who knows eight?

Who knows nine? David knows nine. Nine are the individual and teams presentations we designed and gave to each other for our capstone class, bestowing final lessons and sharing final passions with one another.

Who knows nine?

Who knows ten? Joel knows ten. Ten is the number of points by which we beat the then-second years in our first game of celebrity, cementing our status as Hornstein’s reigning celebrity game champions.

Who knows ten?

Who knows eleven? Sara knows eleven. Eleven is the number of individual site visits we made on our Starr Seminar to New York City, speaking with representatives from more than 15 different Jewish organizations whose dynamics we studied and debriefed in our organizational behavior class.

Who knows eleven?

Who knows twelve? Teri knows twelve. Twelve are the number of individual fieldwork experiences we had over last summer and this past year, helping practically apply and cement our classroom learning.

Who knows twelve?

Who knows thirteen? No one knows thirteen. In the original version of this song, the number thirteen represents God’s attributes, traits that many great Jewish scholars, including the Rambam and Yehuda Halevi, believe are indescribable. Here too, thirteen represents those indescribable lessons and highlights that we will take with us in our journey forward.

Who knows thirteen?