What comes to mind when you hear the words Water of the Dew? Peaceful contemplation. Sunshine. A beautiful morning. Going with the flow. Graceful authenticity. Strength in nature. Student of the month? All these words aptly describe North Shore’s February Student of the Month, junior Maytal Baruch.
Maytal means Water of the Dew in Hebrew, and she is the epitome of all its positive aspects. On the practical side, Maytal is able to balance a rigorous academic program with her busy outside of school schedule by using her motto of “no procrastinating” and well-honed time management skills. Just the way one can count on the early morning dew to always appear unconditionally, Maytal can also always be counted on to show up as her glistening self. A self-described “hard worker” taking four AP classes this year and involved in numerous co-curricular activities and a member of the NSHAHS varsity volleyball team, she also makes sure to put energy into spirit as a preparer of Kiddish each Shabbat.
Interested in a future in business, Maytal has enjoyed taking advantage of North Shore’s many co-curricular opportunities to help her accrue new skills and decide the right path for her. There is Model Congress, Model UN and Mock Trial where she learned analytical research, presentation and public speaking. As a writer for North Shore Notes, she writes creative articles on a multitude of topics including current events, school events and best of all opinion pieces. This in particular has been great training for the Write On for Israel program. Following in her brothers’ footsteps, she applied and was accepted into the program this year. Write On is a two-year leadership and education program for Jewish high school students that empowers young influencers and future leaders to make a difference on college campuses and beyond. It culminates in an issues-focused trip to Israel in February of their senior year.
Maytal also put her creativity to use in the science sector by participating in two science research projects. One involving tropisms or the effects of gravity on plants and how they grow and the second and most fun for her was psychology-based. Maytal researched how the brain perceives scent and color and how what is expected compares with reality. For example, if you close your eyes and inhale a minty scent you might expect it to be red or green in color. However, if you see a red or green liquid you might expect it to have a certain scent, but in reality it might be banana. Do the visual cues skew perceptions? Maytal’s research says yes.
Outside of school is another full-time matter entirely! Maytal is a competitive dancer since the age of 8. She dances three times each week for at least two hours and her group is ranked third in international competition! She says she loves dancing as it’s a great stress reliever, and way to let out emotions and feels her teammates are family. Her dance experience comes in handy with her next love – surfing. She attended surf camp when she was 7, and never looked back. She looks forward to summers with long days of sunlight at Long Beach, with her long board, surfing for several hours each day. At the opposite end of the spectrum was her experience repelling in the desert in Negev in Israel.
Maytal loves to travel with her family, and wherever she is, she immerses herself in the fullness of the experience. That’s one of the many things she loves about Israel. She can be at the beach, or the desert and can feel the depth of spiritual and cultural connection. Her favorite beaches though are in Ischia, one of the most picturesque islands in the Bay of Naples, and in Belize in Central America.
Chesed is another important part of Maytal’s life. She does ongoing fundraising for the Beit Ruth Therapeutic Village in Israel to support young at-risk girls. In addition, Maytal is a dedicated member of the Sisterhood at her Shul working with the local food pantry. She derives great satisfaction from helping others and holds this aspect in very high regard.
On top of all her academic, sports, competitive and community-minded pursuits, Maytal somehow still has time for reading and movies. Her favorites include historical fiction, non-fiction travel books and John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. Her taste in film is all about the 80’s with 16 Candles and Dirty Dancing at the top of the list. And of course, because you love to know – her favorite foods are sushi (salmon or yellowtail) and cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese and pepper), and her favorite color is Ocean Blue (very fitting for a surfer).
Just like the morning dew sparkles in the sun and provides flourishing growth, freshness and encouragement for each day, Maytal provides the same with each day in her presence. She loves surprises and thrives in an integrated creative environment just like North Shore. Maytal says her life goal is do something on her own to create something positive to the world. We think she is already well on her way. Congratulations Maytal! Well done!
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