December 7, 2017
19 Kislev 5778
Dear AJA Community,
Yesterday’s announcement about Israel holds great historic significance. As a school that is pro-Israel, it’s a powerful recognition of our National and religious narratives and hopes. In our hearts and minds, Jerusalem has always been at the center of our Jewish world, and the epicenter of Jewish and spiritual life in Israel.
I’m also aware that there is a larger geopolitical context to this. I hope and pray that this change of policy announcement does not become a catalyst to violence or bloodshed. I hope that we can continue on a path of discussion and compromise for a meaningful and peaceful relationship with our neighbors. And together, to work toward a positive common goal and to bring to life the vision of the verse from Isaiah:
כי מציון תצא תורה ודבר ה` מירושלים
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Right here in our AJA halls, significant things are happening. Visually, artistically, musically, creatively and even culinarily there is a lot happening at the school over the next week. Many of my favorite school programs and events are happening and I just have to share.
All grades have worked on age and developmentally appropriate creations for tonight’s Evening of the Arts. Please be sure you read the descriptions our Art Teachers created for you understand the reasons “why” they had their students work on each specific project. The Homburger Commons will be filled with this art and the proud faces of the children who designed the pieces.
With next week being the start of Chanukah, the halls are buzzing with the sights, smells, energy and excitement surrounding the holiday. Outside of the classroom, the lessons continue. We celebrate with activities and events that serve to strengthen the students’ connection to our history. The ECD has its annual family celebration on Friday; the Lower School will enjoy Bingo, an Israel @ 70 activity, games and sufganiyot-making. (save me one, please). Our Middle School will have Maccabi style dodgeball and races, games, activities with our B’not Sherut and sufganiyot-making. (ok, you can save me one). And last but not least, ourUpper School will celebrate with a photo contest, Student Cholent Bowl competition, Chanukah dinner with entertainment and Sufganiyot. (fine, if you insist...I’ll take one of those, too.)
Our students are preparing for some musical moments over the next week. I walked down the ECD hallway and heard music coming from various classrooms, in preparation for Grandparent and VIP Day on Friday, and for next week’s Chanukah celebrations and performances. Turning the corner, the students in our school musicals “Winnie the Pooh” and “Mary Poppins” and our Junior Chorus can be heard rehearsing for tonight’s Evening of the Arts performances. Down the Upper School hallway, the Girls’ Chagiga is hard at work on fine-tuning the music for their video trailer to showcase their original play. After a final turn, I reach the 3rd Grade hallway. Now I hear the sweet tunes of those students singing their hearts out with their Hebrew and Judaic Studies teachers to prepare for Havdalah this Saturday at
I think Havdalah is one of the most meaningful rituals in Judaism. It creates a hard line between Shabbat and the new week ahead of us - a division between the sacred and the everyday. Havdalahmakes us stop, reflect and savor. Did you know that Havdalahrequires us to use all five of our senses? We taste the wine, smellthe besamim (spices), see the candlelight, feel the warmth and hear the blessings - all combined to make Havdalah such a special mitzvah.
This week at AJA, all of our senses are certainly being engaged! I hope you will join us at one or more of these special programs we are hosting at the school.
Rabbi Ari Leubitz