The Fire Within

The last Ha’Ikar I wrote was in March. On the one hand, it feels like six months ago, and on the other, it feels like time is passing very quickly. Last Friday night my daughter Orli said, “The days go by slowly, but the weeks are so fast.” There are countless memes about not knowing which day it is, and certainly the weather seems to be mixed up as well. One weekend it is 75 degrees, and the next we get an arctic blast with snow. We seem to be living in some strange Harry Potter-esque time twisted universe. It is a paradoxical world: we are together, apart; we socialize distantly; our building is closed, but our school is open; we are confined and constricted, but enjoying unstructured hours with loved ones. We shelter in place during a scary and ominous time, yet the Earth is simultaneously repairing itself and experiencing regrowth.

Much will be written about what happened, what could have, should have happened…if only this, or that. Historians, pundits, and scientists will fill pages about the spring of 2020, and probably months into the future as well. With so much uncertainty, there is a lot yet to be discovered, analyzed, and applied. At EHS, we are actively planning for next year and thinking about how to maximize in-person learning while preparing for at-home scenarios that will maintain continuity, connection, and caring. What I know to be true is that during this crazy time-twisted period, EHS has stayed focused on the needs of your children. We have looked for every opportunity to care for and nurture their mind, body, and spirit – about that, there is no uncertainty or doubt.

Yesterday, we celebrated Lag B’Omer – the 33rd day of the counting period between Passover and Shavuot. It is a one day refuge in a time period that was historically very dark. Halachically, the omer period has many restrictions on celebrations and is considered to be a time of mourning. The exception is the 33rd day when we celebrate victories that happened in ancient times. Today, Lag B’Omer in Israel brings marriages, first haircuts, bonfires, sing-a-longs, field games, and potatoes and corn roasted over a campfire. We celebrate our fiery love of Judaism, peoplehood, and freedom. This Lag B’Omer, we asked our students what makes you feel passionate and burn with a fire? How might you answer that question? For me, the answer is simple: teaching. I love being in school each day with children and teachers. I can unequivocally say that my faculty and staff have the same answer. They love what they do and are passionate educators.

At EHS, we are 100% committed to ensuring that every child can have a Jewish education. I know that the world has turned upside down these past few months. Some of you may be worrying that you cannot afford tuition next year. If you find yourself in a financial circumstance that will make it challenging to attend EHS, please be in touch. We are committed to ensuring that everyone will be able to return. Do not worry alone; we are here to help. Your children love coming to school every day – whether in-person at six Community Road or remotely through EHSBabayit. Our teachers are working so hard to keep your child’s passion for learning burning brightly. That same fire is lit inside of every faculty member. Your children’s voices, stories, smiles and achievements brighten teachers’ days and give focus and meaning during these dark days. Brighter times are ahead and EHS will be ready to greet and meet your family and start another year of values-driven, engaging, and vibrant learning.