On Monday evening of this week I observed a wonderful celebration of accomplishment watching the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy graduation. It was filled with passion, authenticity, wisdom, meaning and joy. I am so proud of Addison Brand, Eli Cohavi, Ethan Herman, Mirra Goldenberg, Gavriel Glickman, Sara Saidel and Ayelet Schuster. I was moved by their speeches, all so personal and poignant. I not only got a glimpse into them as people but also into their experience at HBHA.
As the CEO of the Federation, I am grateful for so many things. I get to connect with special people and fundraise for a cause to which I am passionately devoted. Among the wonderful and satisfying things we do everyday, everywhere, is to allocate money to our community programs, Jewish education among them.
HBHA is a gem in the crown of our community. From kindergarten to twelfth grade, the teachers and administrators provide a robust and pluralistic curriculum covering all facets of Jewish and secular studies. They strive to maximize spiritual, intellectual and personal growth for each of their students. As soon as you walk through the doors you can feel the love, respect and family-like atmosphere seeping out of the walls.
Seeing these graduates articulate their appreciation and their commitment to growth and development was inspiring and heartwarming. Many have grown up at HBHA and all referred to it as ‘home.’ Isn’t that what education is all about? I am filled with hope when I see these students express their love of Jewish culture and education through their words and actions.
Judaism is a religion demonstrated through living out our values of study, tikkun olam and tzedakah. These students learned this at HBHA and their learnings were reinforced by their families. They are our future, and I look forward to when they will be leaders of the next generation.
I am driven by my concern for Jewish continuity and ponder much on how our beautiful culture will endure through the ages. When I saw these students, it reinforced for me the importance of a Jewish day school education in action. I am so grateful to be part of a Jewish community that values and supports a culture of education through a variety of modalities, and not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
Speaking of gratitude, I hope you will join us in participating in Days of Gratitude, an international, week-long expression of gratitude. Starting today and culminating on the Festival of Shavuot, May 30, we will be sharing prompts on our Facebook page designed to help our community share and show its gratitude. Now more than ever, it is important to give our thanks.