The Early Childhood Directors Network is a longstanding group within BJE, and the connections among the educators actually grew even stronger throughout the pandemic. Though they met only via zoom during this period, they came to rely on the opportunity to share experiences, successes and frustrations over the many months. On December 8th, 28 educators gathered at American Jewish University for the first in-person event since the shutdown began in March 2020.
Though it is a minor (post-Biblical) festival in the Jewish holiday cycle, Hanukkah has, owing to its calendar proximity to Christmas, assumed a particularly prominent place in the awareness of Jews and non-Jews in the United States. Hanukkah is often associated with a struggle for religious freedom. The plot line: the Judeans fought Greeks (Hellenists) who wanted to impose an alien religion on them; the Judeans chased them away and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem that had been defiled.
In anticipation of a new and challenging school year, educators from BJE’s Day School networks had the long-missed opportunity to gather in-person and COVID-safe, for training sessions:
Much has been written of late about the experiences of Jewish students as they proceed to colleges across the country. Last month, I read the following:
By Dr. Gil Graff
The approach of Rosh HaShanah is marked by daily shofar blasts throughout the Hebrew month of Elul that precedes it, summoning listeners to reflect on the year past and to build bridges between the “is” and the “ought.” Rosh HaShanah, a time of introspection, is also described as the day of the birth of the world. Not long after Rosh HaShanah – on Simchat Torah – Jews throughout the world begin, anew, the cycle of weekly Torah study starting with a narrative of world creation.
By Dr. Gil Graff
In an essay titled “Israel: The Ever-dying People,” the twentieth century Jewish thinker Simon Rawidowicz observes that Israel (the Jewish people) has, throughout history, viewed itself as “constantly on the verge of ceasing to be, of disappearing.” This is by no means limited to such times as the destruction of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, commemorated on the 9th of Av (this year, Saturday night/Sunday, July 17-18). One can hardly find a generation, writes Rawidowicz, “which did not consider itself the final link in Israel’s chain.”