Since it’s Adar and our joy is supposed to increase throughout the month (really two, this year), I walked around the hallways this week to let my senses take in what was happening. I had the pleasure of seeing, hearing, and smelling a lot of wonderful things. The only way for me to share them with you is to describe a few and hope that you can let them embrace you the way they did for me.

I saw President Abraham Lincoln. Upon investigation, the person under that beard was a third grader doing a presentation about the great president. When I looked around the room, I saw that the room was filled with presidents…President Jefferson, President Wilson, and President Reagan, just to name a few.

I heard preschool students laughing and yelling for joy about finally being outside for recess. I was reminded that while I may be tired of the snow — driving in it, shoveling it, seeing it falling from the sky — our kids still love playing in it.

I smelled hamantaschen baking on Thursday night. Oh, they were heavenly, strawberry-filled deliciousness. Parent volunteers have excitedly come in to bake more than 2,000 hamantaschen for Mishloach Manot many nights over the past month. This Sunday morning is the final time to get yourself into the kitchen to bake (and taste one – yes I did) before Purim rolls around.

I heard the cheers of friends and family during the Girls’ game against Fuchs Mizrachi. We won, but it didn’t matter. The students were having fun.

I smelled the tasty lunch that our incredible kitchen staff put together despite the short morning on Tuesday. I am always amazed that they can make lunch for more than 330 people each day, and even more so with fewer minutes to do it.

I saw prospective parents looking excited about joining Schechter as they toured the building with Parent and Student Ambassadors. Help us grow our school by referring new families to Schechter. Wear Schechter and talk Schechter as you move through the Cleveland Jewish community. Don’t forget about the $1,000 tuition incentive for new recruits!

I heard the melodious tunes of Ma Tovu as our Lower School students davened together. Our first graders are eagerly preparing for their Kabbalat Siddur program and their excitement is building.

I smelled (and then tasted) delicious treats prepared by our ECC students. Our kindergarten students invited officers from the Pepper Pike Police Department and presented them with cupcakes to take back to the station as a thank you for all that they do to keep us safe.

At the end of last week, I heard the applause of our students as I put gold, silver, and bronze medals over the heads of our champion readers in each grade level. With over 1300 books read, it was clear that everyone went for the gold in our Read for Life program. Thank you to the incredible staff who gave of their time to make sure that this program was a success.

I will go into Shabbat “sensing” that it was another wonderful week here at Schechter.

Shabbat Shalom

Dr. Ari Yares

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