Dear Ezra Community,
The ability of world and national events to stop us in our tracks can be paralyzing for many of us. It is natural to wonder why and how these things can be happening in our world, even with so much good happening at the same time. An event like the shooting in Uvalde, Texas is particularly hard for those who work in educational settings and for parents of school-aged children, and I am overwhelmed by the responses that I have received from parents and community members during this challenging week. Our number one goal and priority continues to be the safety and support of our students, and to make sure that this is a supportive and loving environment for all.
The events of Tuesday made it challenging to be able to go about our daily lives and plans and I worried that it would be hard for our teachers and staff, and especially for our parent community, to return to school the next day. Not only am I incredibly grateful for the support that I receive through my fellowship in the Day School Leadership Training Institute, the Prizmah Network and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, but I am also honored to be a part of this community and am proud of the ways that we come together.
In the hours after the news broke, our 7-8 class, their families, and other guests came together to celebrate a time-honored tradition, Family History Night, which has been happening under the leadership of the incredible Lois Murray for almost 30 years. While there was certainly an unspoken feeling of sadness in the air, our families came together to share photos, artifacts, mementos, and stories with the group. When I think about the overall theme of the evening, the term collective memory comes to mind. While the story I shared about my Great Grandmother is certainly a personal one, once I shared it, it became part of the group’s experience. Stories of celebration, tragedy, and resilience were shared, sometimes with humor, and sometimes in a more somber manner. Whatever the story, the sharer had the ability to bring the rest of the participants in and to give us a small glimpse of what is important to them and to their family.
This event, as well as others from this week, such as tefillot, a shiva in the community, guidance from rabbis, and countless opportunities for communication with parents have left me with a feeling of support and of hope.
While it can be so easy to feel like we do not have control over the events of the world, we need to remind ourselves that so much IS within our power. We have the ability to be real with each other, to support one another and to extend acts of kindness, both small and large every day. While the parasha this week, Bechukotai discusses the importance of following God’s commandments and the rewards and consequences that may come with our choices, it also reminds us that we have the ability to make those choices. While the Torah stresses the importance of WHAT we do or don’t do, we also need to remind ourselves and each other that HOW we navigate life and its ups and downs is what truly makes us a community.
With wishes for a peaceful and healing Shabbat and a restful long weekend,