This week’s parsha—Parshat Kedoshim—is all about uniqueness. And what a wonderfully unique two weeks we have had here at Heschel! The word Kadosh—often translated as “holy”—can be understood to mean “special” and “unique.” Created in God’s image, we become “unique” through our actions and our deeds.
This week, we witnessed the uniqueness of our students, teachers, and our school. We are all in Awe! The joy of performing our learning with purpose and meaning, in a myriad of arts and forms—music, dance, drama, games, and speech—is what makes Heschel truly unique. With COVID restrictions lightening, we are thrilled to once again be able to share with you—our parents—the learning that happens here each and every day.
Just before Pesach, our Grade 5 students took to the stage for their epic Living Haggadah performance. Immediately upon our return, our Grade 8 students lead a moving Yom HaShoah memorial service, attended by family members.
This week, our Grade 4 students performed their novel study plays based on Mordechai Richler’s famous novel Jacob Two-Two.
Yesterday, Grade 6 and 7 students, along with the Heschel choir, commended themselves by leading a profound Yom HaziKaron service, followed by joyous and celebratory Yom Ha’atzmaut activities: all in Hebrew, the unique language of the Jewish people.
Each of these “performances of understanding” were not mere presentations, but expressions of deep learning, preparation, and learned skills. These are our Heschel “exams”—tests of understanding that engage a wide range of learning domains: comprehension, memorization, presentation skills, team work, artistry—not to mention the social-emotional capacities of courage, determination, and a sense of accomplishment. These are ways of learning that speak to the whole child—mind, body, heart, and soul; these are ways of teaching that respect the diverse ways that children learn.
We are so glad that parents can once again witness the truly unique learning that goes on each and every day here at Heschel, and which has been hidden from view for the past two years. Yashar Koakh to our students and teachers.
This Shabbat, may we all have an opportunity to consider how our actions, commitments, and the gift of a unique education helps our children to also become unique, each in their own way.