Back to the Beginning

While our school year started almost a month and a half ago, the end of the Jewish holidays (for now!) comes with a new sense of beginning. In Jewish educational, organizational, and religious spaces, there is even a term for this, acharei ha-chagim or after the holidays. I’m so grateful that we have had the past six weeks (and a few of them were even full ones!) to establish norms and routines, to welcome new students, families, and faculty and staff and now we have this amazing momentum from the holidays that is pushing us into the year. 

The beginning of a new Torah reading cycle is a change that I always look forward to. As synagogue communities finished chanting the very end of the Torah on Monday night and Tuesday morning, they moved right back to the book of Bereishit, Genesis. Today, we read these opening verses of the Torah in our full-school tefillah and in the coming weeks and months, we will again engage with stories about personal changes and developments, families, and an ever-evolving relationship with the Creator. Teachers and students alike made a concerted effort last year to bring creativity and curiosity to parasha learning each week and we are excited to re-engage with the text this year. 

Today also began a new and exciting cycle for our Ezra Social Justice Program. We are a part of a group of small schools that has been doing learning together for years and together we make up the Small Schools Alliance. Today began the next cycle of programming for our 7th and 8th grade students who will be learning about American Government and advocacy, and Israel respectively. 6th grade students begin their learning next week and will be covering the history of the Civil Rights Movement. In the spring, all three groups will participate in trips to Birmingham,  Alabama, Washington, D.C. and Israel. Today, 7th and 8th graders got to reconnect with colleagues from our partner schools and began learning some of the content for the year. 

In joining the 8th graders for their opening learning session, I was struck by what a special opportunity this is and how it not only gives us ways to connect with others and learn about their communities, but also gives the other schools ways to get to know us. While our students and teachers come from different backgrounds, we are united in our approach to learning, especially through discourse and understanding differing perspectives. Countless Ezra parents (both past and current) and students have told us that these trips and inter-school learning were some of the most significant experiences that they had at Ezra and I am so honored that we continue to be a part of building this special program and the connections that happen because of it. 

I want to also extend an immense amount of gratitude to everyone who was able to participate in our Grandparents and Special Friends Day last Friday. We welcomed over 60 guests to our campus where they enjoyed a delicious lunch as well as a wide variety of activities and learning in classrooms as well as two different musical Kabbalat Shabbat services to end the day. Thank you to the Hass family for sponsoring lunch in loving memory of Lauren’s father, Alan Kalter, Poppy to Samantha, Ethan, and Jordan. 

We are looking forward to other opportunities to learn and celebrate together including a community Havdallah event on November 12th. I’m also happy to announce that work on our Ezra Chanukah Production has also begun. Please add Monday, December 19 to your calendar so you won’t miss it! 

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and an early Chodesh Tov, a happy start to the month of Cheshvan which begins Monday night!

Tani Cohen-Fraade

Head of School