Like most educators, actually, probably like most people, I dread the day that I return to work after vacation. It’s not that I don’t want to go back to school. As a principal, I truly enjoy what I do. It’s the shift from the routine of vacation to that of work that I find jarring. It is an awkward transition from a (hopefully) more relaxed pace to a more frenetic pace. This week was different. While, of course, there was a portion of me that would have loved to sleep a little later on Monday morning, I was excited to step foot back in the building.

For weeks, the anticipation of our Shushan Purim Chesed Day has been building among the staff. Rabbi Josh Rabin, our Rav Beit Sefer, kept us updated with each contact that he made for the various service projects that would be available for our students. Plans were set for a modified schedule and buses were ordered for the high school projects, while supplies were purchased for the middle school project.

But on Monday morning, it was finally here.

With a group of 9th and 10th graders, I excitedly boarded the bus to AHRC. We were eagerly greeted and we began to visit and play with a group of autistic preschool and elementary school students. The ice and awkwardness quickly melted as the Schechter students followed their new friends from station to station in a physical education activity in the AHRC gym. Everyone was smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves.

Perhaps the most touching aspect of the experience was the reluctance of our students to leave AHRC. They had seen first hand how they could touch someone else’s life and, perhaps, this is the real purpose of giving matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor). Our students connected with people who they could have seen as the “other,” but instead saw them as fellow human beings.

This single event has kept me powered for an entire week.

While we work to plan other opportunities for our students to engage in tikkun olam, we encourage you to reach out to these agencies or others that we worked with and encourage your child to make volunteering part of their lives. As a school, we have a community service/hesed requirement because we strongly believe that tikkun olam needs to be an integral part of our lives as Jews and we lay the groundwork for what we hope will be lifelong habits here at Schechter.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This