Journeys begin in strange ways. Some of us are struck by wanderlust. Others have a burning desire to see something or have an experience. A few of us make a phone call and a journey begins.

This is what happened to me. About half a year ago, I picked up the phone and called Susan Siegal to wish her mazal tov on her appointment as Head of School of B’nai Shalom Day School. Susan was a colleague and a friend from the Day School Leaders Training Institute and I was happy and excited for her.

“Listen,” she said to me, “You need to come to Cleveland. You need to see the school. You’ll love it.”

A few hours later, I got a call from Seymour Kopelowitz, director of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. “Listen,” he said to me in his South African accent, “You need to come to Cleveland. You need to see the school. You’ll love it.”

Over Shabbat, I said to my wife, Ali, “They say that we will love it. Should I go?” Her response? You won’t know unless you go.

Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up and go someplace to truly know it. There is something frightening in taking those first few steps on a journey. I felt it last spring and I can only imagine that Abraham felt it when God commanded him to go to a strange land, as happens in this week’s Torah portion. Lech L’cha! Go forth!

There is something strangely compelling in that command. Abraham does not know what he will experience, but without listening, without taking that risk, his life would have never changed. He goes forth, journeys to a new land, and in doing so, enriches himself (and an entire people) in ways that he would have never imagined.

Each of us that has enrolled our children at Gross Schechter Day School has at some point answered a call to go and visit. Someone set our feet on a path to the school whether it was a friend, a colleague, or a relative. We did not know what to expect, but took a risk in the hope that we would find a find a school that would be a good partner as our children grow and develop, a second home for our family, and a community to share times of joy and sadness.

It is now your turn to find someone and give them that same message. Join us as we build our team of parent ambassadors who will set others on this journey. Please come to our Parent Ambassador training next week on Monday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 to help us spread the message ofLech L’cha.

Listen, you’ll love it.

Shabbat Shalom,
Dr. Ari Yares

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