It has been a good day.
 
We began with a bright, sunny day as students slowly arrived for the first day of classes. There was  excitement in the air, and it wasn’t just from the coffee and donuts that wonderful parent volunteers from the Kehillat Schechter Committee were passing out. Parents were taking pictures, old friends were greeting each other, and new friendships were forging.  Even our community partners, the Pepper Pike Police Department, were smiling when they stopped by to see how our first day of school was going.
 
This was good.
 
The excitement continued to build as we entered the Merkaz to welcome our kindergarten students. Our kindergarteners joined the day school community, in front of their parents and the 1-8 grade student body. I had the privilege and honor of reciting my first bracha, the Shehechiyanu, as Head of School and, in this case, my first blessing as a Schechter parent. Together with my fellow kindergarten parents (my oldest daughter is in this class), we recited Shehechiyanu as we watched our sons and daughters become kindergartners and start the their formal school years.
 
This, too, was good.
 
My colleague and friend, Rabbi David Kosak of Congregation Shaarey Tikvah, joined us to offer the Priestly Blessing and to share the story of a young Hillel and his thirst for knowledge. We hope that all of our students model Hillel’s desire to learn and that they grow to be like Ephraim, Manasseh, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah as the blessing recalls.
 
This was good as well.
 
Our teachers surprised the students by donning wigs and grabbing pom-poms to sing “Gross Schechter is Going to Be Fun” to the tune of Cyndi Lauper’s hit. This touch of silliness and spirit brought smiles (and perhaps some laughter, as well) to the students faces. It was just a small part of the enthusiasm that staff has brought in the days leading up to school.
 
And this was good.
 
After students dispersed to their classes, I walked through the school and was greeted by “Good morning, Dr. Yares” and “Boker Tov, Dr. Yares.” I am looking forward to longer visits with each of our grade levels in the coming days.
 
This was also good.
 
With the arrival of the pre-schoolers next week, we will start the school year with an enrollment of 269, an increase of 4% over last year. And another great year begins.
 
There is bracha that we say upon hearing good news, ha-tov v’ha-maiteev. Today truly has been a day filled with good news. I began my day with Shehechiyanu, thanking God for allowing us to reach this moment. I end my day reciting ha-tov v’ha-maiteev, thanking God for the goodness that has graced our lives today and with hope for more opportunities to say this bracha in the future.

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