Amidst the heartache, concern, and on-going challenges of the past few days, we would like to share with you some moments that have warmed our hearts and kept us going this week.
- On Wednesday, the Heschel Chevra Committee organized a tefillah service and gathering for the Heschel community. The gathering allowed us to come together in support of Israel and each other, and to offer prayers of strength and hope for the people of Israel, her defenders, and all those in our community affected by the war. The gathering included a sock drive for soldiers to accompany a letter writing campaign done by our students.
- On Thursday, our Junior High students enacted their democratic rights by participating in Student Council elections. Our ועדת הסטודנטים (Student Council) is modelled on both the Canadian and Israeli models. Candidates stood for the position of שרשרית (Sar/Sarit – Minister) of תקשורת (Tikshoret – Communications), תרבות (Tarbut – Culture), ספורט (Sport), איכות הסביבה (Eichut Hasevivah – Environment), ענייני ישראל (Inyannei Israel – Israel affairs), תיקון עולם (Tikkun Olam), and of course, ראש הממשלה (Rosh Hamemshalah – Prime Minister).
Always a proud moment for us, this year hearing each candidate rise and speak was a poignant reminder of the importance of teaching, affirming, and practicing democracy. As we teach our students, one of the greatest strengths of Israel has been its capacity to maintain a vibrant democracy under conditions in which democracy in many countries fails. Hearing our students put themselves out there for leadership against the background of the current turmoil filled our hearts with a sense of hope and pride.
- Today, while we did not have all of our students, we still had meaningful programs. Students and Grades 3 – 8 participated in an “Art Tefillah” with none other than Morah Lisa who made a guest appearance. The students prayed with their hands while Morim Josh and Eldan played Tefillot of peace. The JH students made Challah with Morah Sefi and we used all of the extra Challah in school today to make French Toast! We also came together at the end of the day for a school-wide Kabbalat Shabbat.
- All week long, our remarkable faculty has stepped up to make sure that our students continued to learn in a nurturing and caring way. This, despite the personal concerns and worries on each of their minds, especially those of our Israeli faculty. Today, when we thanked them for showing up, the most common response was, “Kemuvan!,” “of course, that’s what you do.” We thank all our teachers and staff from the bottom of our hearts for their courage and commitment.
- Finally, we have been so touched by the many offers of parents and extended family members to help however they can; many of you have asked about the wellbeing of faculty and staff and offered words of kindness and support. The care and concern of our community has been remarkable and inspiring.
We know that we will continue to face challenges in the days ahead. We also know that our community is strong, supportive, and that together we will endure in our support for Israel and the Jewish people. Here is a message from Moreh Greg’s cousin in Israel that reminds us of unity at this time.
Shabbat Shalom Ve’am Israel Chai,
Morim Alan and Greg