This week’s parshah is parshat Achrei Mot. We focussed on the middah, “make your own good decisions.” The middah is derived from a verse which commands the people of Israel not to follow certain violent laws and practices that were performed in the cultures of the Ancient Near East. The Torah teaches how to draw on a foundation of practices and traditions that help us act differently than others when the circumstances demand it.
At Heschel, students learn how to be independent thinkers who know how to make good decisions. Students internalize this habit of mind day in and day out though the way that they learn. Instead of a teacher-centred approach, where children learn just what the teacher tells them, our teachers set up learning environments in which students work together with their peers to generate knowledge and understanding. A great example of that was today’s Grade 4 novel study play performances. Each year the Grade 4 students read a novel, convert it into a script and perform it on stage with costumes, props, and songs. This year, as part of Spirit of Canada curriculum, students read one of three Canadian novels: Jacob Two-Two, Prairie Fire, and Anne of Green Gables. Through this experience, students learned how to take responsibility for themselves and for their peers. They learned how to make decisions about which details from the book to include in the script; they made decisions about how to stage scenes, and how to represent characters; they made decisions about how to work together as an ensemble. As a result of all their good decisions, students and parents were treated to three entertaining and educational plays. Yashar Koakh to the Grade 4 team!
This Shabbat may we all take time to consider how to make our own good decisions.