As we continue to move towards Pesach and a much deserved vacation, I am again reminded of the structure and organization of the Jewish calendar and its ability to instill excitement in us and in our students. I am proud to report that our wonderful tradition of student-tutoring for the Pesach seder is in full swing. I am so proud of our students and the skills that they are building.
This coming weekend, we celebrate Shabbat Ha-Gadol, or the Great Shabbat. This is the last of the four Shabbatot that leads up to Pesach and is both an opportunity for rest, as well as an opportunity for spiritual preparation for the upcoming holiday. The celebration of this special Shabbat also harkens back to the last Shabbat before the exodus from Egypt and gives us an early taste of redemption.
There are two traditions that are often celebrated in Jewish communities on this Shabbat. One beautiful tradition is that the afternoon is spent reciting the entire haggadah in preparation for the Seder. The other tradition is that a longer than usual d’var Torah is often given in preparation for the holiday. While I will try to keep my thoughts brief here, I also want to use this as an opportunity to share some other exciting happenings with our community. It is amazing that our hallways and classrooms are filled with singing this week, because overall, the building has been a little quieter. Our sixth and seventh graders have been away on their respective class trips and I’m excited to share some highlights with you.
Our sixth grade class is currently in Birmingham Alabama, participating with other schools in our small school alliance. Their learning has been focused on the Civil Rights Movement and they have spent time at the Civil Rights Museum, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and visited Selma and Montgomery. Along the way, they have met with local figures and leaders as well as activists who have shared their incredible stories. We are proud of our students for engaging in this important learning and are grateful to Rabbi Amanda Brodie for her leadership in this program!
Our seventh grade has had an immersive and jam-packed experience in Washington, D.C., also with our other alliance partners. Student learning this year has focused on American government as well as themes of citizenship and activism in our Jewish tradition. Our students have met with nonprofit organizations, lobbyists, and government leaders and have also gotten to tour the city and its impressive museums and monuments. Our students also had the opportunity to share their work and proposals for different types of change with representatives and staff on Capitol Hill. A huge thank you to Morah Shira Rosenblatt and Madeleine Cahn (Ezra Class of 2013) for their leadership on this trip!
As we move into Pesach, I am filled with such pride for our students and their dedication to their learning and the ability to apply it to these important experiences. The lessons and ideas that they return with are such an important part of our overall learning process and we are excited to learn and hear more about their experiences.
Wishing you all a peaceful Shabbat and a happy Pesach,