We are a values-based school. Judaism is the vehicle we use to access those values. Values, in turn, keep our Jewish expression and identity alive.
What does that mean?
Jewish folklore tells us the story of the “wise” men and women of Chelm, admirably tackling problems in efficient, simple – and foolhardy – ways. The parents of Chelm would bathe their children each week in the river, which was unfortunately quite a long walk from town. To cut down on their lengthy trips, the town elders decided on a quick-fix. They would simply bring all of the children to the river, and give them 52 consecutive baths, one for each week of the year. Problem solved! They would not need to walk to the river again until next year, and their children would remain clean year-round.
The poor children of Chelm, of course, would get quite smelly that year. It is the same with our values and our Jewish identity. Do we, like the folks from Chelm, dive into values for a period in time, to then be released? No. Our values are our daily connection to, our constant presence of, who we are.
This is experienced in our school through every interaction we have with each other and the environment around us. These interactions are guided by a set of values, the values themselves informed by our Jewish identity.
How is this accomplished at our school?
Our school faculty spent 24 months, culminating last year, in an exploratory journey to define our values and their sources. Informing this journey was Jewish texts, traditions, and artifacts, along with our individual understandings of what children need and how we build community. This journey is now represented in a set of values that each teaching team brings into their classrooms.
These values are: promises and partnerships, sacred space and experiences, community and responsibility, honoring our individuality, exploring and interpreting, wonder, and journey. You can read about the origin of these values in our leaflet, “Looking Through A Jewish Lens,” attached here.
This common set of values drives our curriculum, pedagogy, professional development, and most significantly, our view of each other. We strive daily to use these values to define our interactions and understandings of each other.
It is our hope that through these interactions, we find that our values and our Jewish identity are relevant, dynamic, and organic. We must never shy away from the river in Chelm, or attempt to diminish our identity by taking all those baths in a row. We must bathe daily in these values, all year long. Our hope each day is to provide that experience for your children and your family.