Thursday, October 19, 2017

MSLTI students designate charity for Hurricane relief Tzedakah funds

During an early morning meeting, representatives from MSLTI gathered to allocate the nearly $650 of Tzedakah funds collected by Davis Academy Middle School and 1st grade students (whose grade level Tzedakah theme is that of "water") for hurricane relief. After meaningful discussion the students, with guidance from Rabbi Micah and Mrs. Shafron, selected the organization NECHAMA. As NECHAMA's mission states, "Our work is rooted in the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam. We offer help to all people affected by disaster on the basis of need regardless of religious affiliation." It was this part of NECHAMA's mission that most resonated with our MSLTI decision-makers. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Simchat Torah D'var Torah

This year's Simchat Torah celebration at The Davis Academy was immeasurably enriched through the participation of several wonderful Middle School students. In her capacity as a Jewish Life Leader and member of MSLTI (our Middle School Leadership Training Institute), 8th Grader, Amit Rau, delivered the following remarks. Her words, thoughtfully written and beautifully delivered, captivated our community and inspired all of us. They are shared here with her parents' permission.

Boker Tov and Chag Sameach. My name is Amit Rau and I am in eighth grade. I am proud to be involved in Jewish Life Leadership this year. Yesterday, in our synagogues and in Israel, as well as at Davis today, we celebrate an important holiday. (To kids:) Can anyone in Mechina tell me the name of this holiday? … Yes, You’re right! The name “Simchat Torah” comes from “Simcha”, which means happiness. Simchat Torah is a holiday that teaches us to celebrate and be happy with our Torah.

Every year, during Simchat Torah, we restart reading the Torah. As soon as we finish reading the last words of the book of Deuteronomy today, in the same breath, we will read the first words of Genesis. Today, we sing and dance and celebrate the joy of the Torah with family, friends and teachers. We unravel the Torah to see the beauty of its words and teachings. We hold the Torah high to show each member of our community that it does not only belong to the rabbis, but also to every person in our Kehilla.

As I look around this room, I see many generations of people, sitting together and enjoying the happiness this holiday brings. This is similar to how we pass the Torah from generation to generation at bar and bat mitzvah services.

The last words of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy are Kol Israel, which mean “all of Israel”. That is the most important message of this meaningful holiday. There is no better feeling than standing together with our Davis Academy family and celebrating our Torah. I want everyone to look around themselves. Parents and grandparents, look at your children and grandchildren. Students, look at your teachers, your friends, and your family. Teachers, look at your students. (PAUSE)

Standing together this morning…     we are, truly…     Kol Israel. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Living Values

Last week I received a truly moving email from one of our 5th grade parents. With their permission I am sharing it here because this blog is all about showing how The Davis Academy community lives our Menschlichkeit values. And this story is a beautiful illustration of precisely that. Upon re-reading the email I am also fairly confident that this is one of the most moving stories about Tzedakah and Slime that I've ever heard! With so much going on in the world it is heartwarming and inspiring to know that our students know how it feels to make a positive contribution and difference. 

Dear Rabbi Micah,

I want to share a story with you about two Davis 5th graders who raised money for the Humane Society this past week. During a recent play date Ashley Dryburgh and Samantha Iroff  were talking about how sad it was that so many animals were impacted and displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

They made a plan to raise money to help the Humane Society and help all those animals who needed assistance or a place to go after the storms hit their areas. So they put their plan into action.

Being huge fans of making slime, they created a company called Caribbean Slime. They produced many batches of slime in various colors and textures to sell. All proceeds of the slime sales would go to the Humane Society. With their plan in place, they sold door- to- door in their neighborhoods and at the Newtown Park Dog Park in Alpharetta where many where so impressed by their philanthropic and entrepreneurial spirit that they made generous donations!

Together the girls raised $270 and this past Sunday, October 1st they brought their donation to the Mansell Road Humane Society campus. They were greeted by very grateful volunteers and some really cute puppies.

Humane Society manager Reco Mitchell explained to the girls that they had taken in 150 animals from the Houston SPCA and 100 more from the Tri-State Animal Shelter in Miami, some animals were hurt and injured, and that their donation would go to very good use!

They girls also learned that an old Home Depot off of 400 and exit 7 is being used as a temporary animal shelter with overflow from the Mansell campus.

My husband Mark and I as well as Brian and Nicole Iroff are thrilled and proud of our daughters' accomplishment and how they thoughtfully engaged in this mitzvah of helping our community! We wanted to share their story with you. 

Thank you, and thanks to the Davis Academy for fostering these type of values in our children every day.