by Tali, age 12, from MD

Dear Yaldah,

I remember the day I saw the Impact Contest on the YALDAH website. The wheels in my mind began to turn as I thought of how to put it all down on paper- but then it hit me – it was an impossible task! YALDAH has done more for me!

It was a cold, blustery winter day when I discovered YALDAH. I was searching online for a way to interact with other Jewish girls. I can recall sitting in bed at night, during that period of time, dreaming of meeting a pen pal from the other side of the world. Well, anyway, I had typed “Jewish pen pals for girls” in my handy dandy Google search box and there, staring right at me, was a chat room of some type that consisted of Jewish girls. I curiously read through it. The girls were discussing something called “yaldah” and an amazing girl named “Leah.” I slowly returned to my Google page and typed in “yaldah.” The first result was, unsurprisingly, YALDAH Magazine, and I slowly clicked my way into an entire new world.

The second I saw the home page, I squealed. I was beyond ecstatic. A Magazine for Jewish girls, by Jewish girls?!! Incredible! I loved to write, but before that day, all my writing was either for school assignments, or offhand stories that only I saw. I clicked on each individual page, and hungrily drank up every word, down to the fine print. Finally my cursor found the Editorial Board’s page, and I clicked. The second I saw that applications were being accepted, I jumped out of chair. There was absolutely no time to waste! I ran upstairs, and on hands and knees begged for a subscription. The next few days were a blur as the application was sent in, and I waited anxiously to see if I was on the Board.

And then the best year ever started. In 2008, my year on the Board, I not only made one friend from abroad – I met a community. I became part of a family. Everyone cared about the other in an indescribable way. Everyone shared their talent, but never boasted; although they had much they could brag about. No matter how hard my days were, at home I always knew I had a sympathetic ear waiting for me on the phone, or someone who would read every word of an email and take the time to patiently think my problem over and respond.

Receiving YALDAH is the highlight of my day, on the days it comes. My siblings know not to bother me, when I’m reading my YALDAH, because I’m completely immersed in the world where I’m told over and over again that I can be anything in the entire world – nothing but me is stopping me! Just reading the YALDAH Mailbox gives me unending appreciation for it. Look at how many girls have had their lives changed through YALDAH! Astounding!! My role models list is not very long. Leah, you and YALDAH have definitely made it. I don’t think I deserve to win, but I know for sure YALDAH deserves to be told how incredible it is! Tears flow freely as the words appear on the screen, but I’m not at all ashamed of them, because tears always speak the truth, and these tears leave no room for doubt that YALDAH is beyond amazing. Thank you so much!

Inspired and impacted,