Dear Heschel Families,

Well, that was certainly quite a year.  It’s incredible to believe that only 10 months ago we celebrated Rosh Hashanah of the Jewish year תש”ף.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  The past few months have been something unlike any of us have ever experienced.  And, yet, we made it through.  Not without challenges, and for some in our community, not without some real sorrows.  We wish all those in our community a Mi Shebeirach – a prayer for healing of body and spirit.

The Grade 8 Graduation ceremony on Monday was a remarkable affair.  In the morning, students and their families came in small cohorts for a social-distanced greeting with their teachers.  They picked up end-of-year gifts, caps, and graduation certifications.  In the evening, a Zoom celebration included videos by students, parents, and a beautiful series of messages from teachers to each individual student. It was a most fitting culmination to a period in which we have been held together as a community by unique and special connections we have with one another.

This connection was evident throughout the last week of school with the Grade 1 Siddur Ceremony, the SK end-of-year celebration, visits to children’s homes, and the Lehitra’ot events hosted by teachers throughout the grades.  We are incredibly grateful as a community to have teachers who have nurtured such special relationships with children and families.

As we enter into the summer, I also want to personally thank each and every Heschel child, parent, caregiver, grandparent, friend, and community member for helping get us through this challenging time.

Our parashah this week is Korach.  It is named after a person who questioned the leadership of Moshe and sought to overthrow him as leader.  Under the banner of personal indignation, Korach threatened to endanger the community. The past months have been challenging for all us, as we have had to give up many of our personal privileges and desires for the sake of community cohesion, health, and well-being.

In the coming weeks, our school leadership, in consultation with our Health and Safety Committee, Public Health, and other relevant agencies, will be trying out best to balance the needs of the community with the needs of our children, as individuals.   Our hope is to be all together in person in the Fall – a community of individuals – the Heschel way.  At the same time, we are planning back-up scenarios, in case we can’t always be together in person.   Whatever we do, you can be sure it will be with the utmost consideration of the physical and social-emotional well-being of our children and our community. Please look out for information and updates from the school over the coming weeks.

To conclude, I want to share a song I wrote for last week’s parashah.  The title is based on the name of the Jewish year – תש”ף :  “Tav, Shin, Peh, didn’t quite go our way.”  I think it sums up the year and how we made it through, together.

Please click the image above to watch.

Looking forward to seeing you all very soon,

Shabbat Shalom,

Moreh Greg