As the song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside,” but, despite that, it feels warm inside the walls of Gross Schechter. It’s more, though, than just the warm feeling we get from the heaters working overtime to beat back this week’s plummeting temperatures. There is an additional warmth that I’m feeling as I watch our staff settle back into teaching, coaching and nurturing our students.

That warmth comes from hearing from teachers who are so dedicated to creating incredible learning experiences that they constantly ask if we can open the building for them on Sundays or during vacations for them to get things ready in their classrooms.

It comes from sitting with a group of teachers who have volunteered to plan our Read for Life program and are meeting, not just after school, but after a faculty meeting, to put the final touches on our annual celebration of literacy and reading.

It’s seeing teachers jump up to cover for an absent colleague even though this means missing out on precious planning time or lunch.

I’m warmed by seeing staff working with students after school on projects, helping them catch up on missed assignments or re-teaching a concept to ensure that a student masters it.

The warmth comes when I hear about a teacher sitting with a child who was feeling down and eating lunch with them to help cheer them up.

I see it when our staff turns out for recitals, games and plays to watch our students shine on the field or stage.

It appears in the e-mails from staff sharing the accomplishments of our alumni in high school and beyond, and the pride that we take in seeing our graduates succeed.

This warmth is a blessing which was the focus on last week’s Torah reading, Vayechi. The text contains the source for our Friday night blessing of our sons to be like Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh. But let’s face it, we don’t know much about them (and while we bless our daughters to be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, we don’t know much more about them).

This week, I’d like to bless all of our children to be like our teachers and grow to have their compassion, dedication, energy and initiative.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Ari Yares
Head of School

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