Friday, September 2, 2016

Why do you think God created the world?

I'm looking at a stack of papers on my desk. Each page represents a Davis Academy 4th grader. Each page has their thoughts about why God created the world.

I've just come from our Middle School Kabbalat Shabbat. Today we were honored to have as our guests, Gina and Suzann Cayne. The Cayne's are a bereaved family who lost their husband/father on 9/11. Among the memories I will carry from their visit are Suzann helping us count the passing of the days as well as our students rising to sing Oseh Shalom and then rushing to thank the family for sharing their story.

This morning I had the delight of welcoming our Mechina and Kindergarten children to their first "official" Kabbalat Shabbat at Davis. I was totally blown away by how many songs they already know as well as their deep engagement throughout the entire experience.

Yesterday afternoon I stood alongside a Davis Academy 8th grader as she led an entire Mincha service from start to finish with no advance notice that she would be invited to do so. It was among the most capable and exceptional student-led services I've ever witnessed.

Prior to that I accompanied our entire 8th grade class on our annual 8th grade retreat. During our 36 hours in the North Georgia Mountains I was consistently overwhelmed by their willingness to engage in deep spiritual and personal reflection as well the sense of Kehillah that they showed toward one another. It was a transformative 36 hours for them and their teachers.

Tuesday I watched some of those same 8th graders engaging preschool aged children at a community outreach event. I was inspired by their infectious energy and joyful personalities.

Also on Tuesday I joined our faculty as we held our first faculty meeting of the year. During our time together we watched a challenging ELI Talk about the importance of leading by example and cultivating our own spiritual, moral, emotional, and intellectual lives.

On Monday of this week I had a chance to participate in Middle School Tefilah not as the service leader, but as a participant. This is something I've longed to do for many years and is a direct result of my outstanding colleagues who are working every day to create an empowered Jewish community among our Middle School learners.

And the week began on Sunday with our Back to School Carnival where I watched a middle school student teach my son how to climb the bouncy slide all on his own. Sunday also included our annual MSLTI training (that I wrote about in an earlier post).

Just a typical week for me at The Davis Academy.

Shabbat Shalom!

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