QUEENS, NY—A proud milestone was reached on Sunday, June 23, 2024 (17 Sivan, 5784), as 39 senior class girls celebrated their graduation from Ohr Chana High School for Girls, now in its 22nd year. The school was established by the great philanthropist Lev Leviev.
«This is an exciting moment,» said Ohr Chana High School President Chagit Leviev Sofiev in her commencement speech, after being welcomed by seniors Yaffa Leviev and Daniela Sharona Akilov. Beside Sofiev on the stage was a sea of students wearing blue caps and gowns, framed by an arch of blue and white balloons around the year 2024.
Reflecting on their journey, she said, «Visiting the school all the time and seeing you grow [has been both] amazing and fulfilling. I’m so proud of you. Many of you are now continuing [your education] and going on your independent route. This is a time to shine,» said Sofiev.
She continued, «The school, the faculty, the rabbis, Mrs. Sari Aminov—everyone has put in so much love and effort into teaching and nurturing you. This is really a time for you to take it all in and take your own road. Your parents invested so much in you. They really made it a priority to put you in a Jewish school with Jewish values.»

Sofiev encouraged the graduates to remember their capability and potential, emphasizing that Hashem’s guidance will lead them to success in all aspects of life, including being a mother and a wife.
Ohr Chana High School, within Jewish Institute of Queens, is named after Sofiev’s grandmother, «a very righteous woman.» «Every day she risked her life to practice Judaism,» said Sofiev. «During the Soviet era, «[anyone who practiced Judaism in the Soviet Union] was sentenced to death. The fact that she was able to raise her kids according to the Jewish laws of Torah and mitzvot, teach them Hebrew and the Torah, quietly and secretly, just to maintain Jewish life and heritage [is an incredible feat, and truly brave.] This is something we take for granted and can’t quite understand today.» Sofiev wished for her grandmother’s legacy to serve as a reminder and inspiration for the graduates.
«This is what you must do in your independent lives, no matter how crazy the world is today. As you go on to colleges and seminaries, never, ever forget your [Jewish heritage]—the future of Am Yisrael is in your hands.»
She also reminded the graduates that she and the rabbis are just a phone call away. «We are family. Whatever you need, we are always here for you. Congratulations, again!»
The graduation day program included a prayer for Klal Israel («the whole Jewish community»), and a special thank you to school founder Mr. Lev Leviev by Yaffa Leviev and Daniela Sharona Akilova. Eliana Aminov and Daniella Niyazov expressed parent appreciation, while valedictorian OraKhana Akilov thanked the community rabbis, which was followed by a blessing by Rabbi Babaev. Gabriella Gurzhiev, Eliana Zavulunov, and Elisheva Khaimov thanked the school’s directors, Rabbi Zalman Zvulunov and Rabbi Yitzhak Wolowik. Mazal Ovadia gave school appreciation remarks. Geha Tova Davydov and Rachel Khiyaev welcomed Principal Mrs. Sari Aminov, and Jennifer Matatov and Isabelle Khaimov welcomed Vice Principal Ms. Venti. The event concluded with an award ceremony, appreciation for seminary counselors, staff, and teachers, followed by the distribution of diplomas.

The room was filled with clapping, smiles, joy and love.
The Bukharian Times wishes to chime in and congratulate valedictorians OraKhana Akilov and Liel Matatov and salutatorian Jennifer Matatov, along with the rest of their Ohr Chana High School graduating class: Daniela Sharona Akilov, Eliana Aminov, Shulamit Aronova, Rachel Asherov, Bella Badalov, Zipporah Borukhov, Braha Borukhova, Rut Cohen, Geha Tova Davydov, Gabriella Domatova, Shirah Gurgov, Gabriella Domatova, Shirah Gurgov, Gabriella Gurzhiev, Rachel Ibragimov, Yaffa Jessica Janashvili, Mikayla Kalantarov, Elisheva Khaimov, Izabell Khaimova, Rachel Khiyaev, Yaffa Leviev, Abigail Maksumov, Ariella Tzipora Maksumov, Jasmin Malaev, Orly Manzoorolhagh, Michal Meirov, Rachel Mosheyev, Rachel Mullokandov, Daniella Niyazov, Mazal Ovadia, Ariana Priyev, Avigail Shimunov, Arielle Suzana, Esther Tahalov, Rachel Yakubova, Esther Yusupov, Leah Yusupov, and Eliana Zavulunov.
A special mazel tov as well to all of the award winners: Brahama Borukhova and Eliana Aminov (Service Awards); Gabriella Gurzhiev and Michal Mierov (Student of the Year Award and Growth and Torah Awards); Liel Matatov and Mikayla Kalantarov (Midot Tovot Awards / Excels in fine character, Growth in Torah Awards); and Eliana Zavulunov and Ester Yusupov (Triple C Scholarship Award).
Remember, the sky is the limit!
This of course would not be possible without such a dedicated administration: Principal Mrs. Sari Amino and Vice Principal Ms. Tami Venti; JIQ Judaic Studies Principal Mrs. Zvluonov; Administrative Director of Performance Achievement Morah Wolowik; Administrative Director of Academic Achievement, Mr. Dimyan; School Directors Rabbi Yitzhak Wolowik and Rabbi Zalman Zvulunov; and to Ohr Chana’s generous benefactor Mr. Lev Leviev.