Today was one of those days that was so remarkable and yet so commonplace that if I don’t capture a few experiences I know the memory will fade and merge with all the other amazing days that I’ve had as a Day School rabbi at The Davis Academy. Here are some quick notes (because it was also a LONG day).
7:30am. Strumming guitar in the gym and waiting for 4th graders to bring their “reimagined Shabbat rituals” to the gym stage in anticipation of tomorrow night’s 4th grade Shabbat. The kids are so proud of their work, curious and supportive of one another, and generally awesome. The project is a great example of what you can do with kids who are home in Judaism.
8:00. Led a Tefilah session for 3rd grade where we did some creative writing around Ashrei. Specifically, I asked 3rd graders to think about the first line of the prayer, “Happy are those who dwell in Your house.” What did they think this meant? Did God have a house? If so, what do you think that house was/is? What does it mean to dwell inside. Their responses were, almost without fail, both honest and profound.
9:10 Middle School Tefilah. 3 totally awesome and completely different kids chanted Torah in front of the Kehillah in advance of their b’nai mitzvah this weekend. Then my colleague, Missy Stein, gave an incredible D’var Torah about the idea that, in parshat Pekudei, Moses blesses the people who made the Mishkan/Ohel Moed rather than the objects that they created. She went on to share beautiful words about the children on behalf of the faculty.
10:00 5 minute phone call with Ulpan Or to coordinate an exciting professional development program that I was able to arrange for our Hebrew faculty next week.
10:30-12:30 A rare couple of hours off campus at an Atlanta Rabbinical Association study session with Dr. Ron Wolfson and many area colleagues.
In the afternoon I was able to run out and get chicken soup for a colleague that’s been sick. Then I stumbled upon 6th graders in Jewish Studies singing the Ashrei (it was an Ashrei day). Seeing their pride in learning the prayer was truly heartwarming.
Later that afternoon Rich O’Dell and I got into a deep and meaningful conversation about a blog post that I wrote on this page last night. Eventually we found ourselves in the Media Center where our conversation expanded to include 1 very engaged 8th graders and a small audience of other kids who were really curious to know what was going on. The conversation basically focused on what it means to own one’s religious and spiritual journey.
At the end of the day I had a chance to meet with a few students who wanted to share some feedback. Listening to their feedback I couldn’t help but delight in their emerging leadership qualities. They were articulate, thoughtful, helpful, and so much more. It was actually a really impactful interaction for me and the other staff person that was there.
7:30 Davis Academy had an extra set of tickets to the opening night of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Listening to the Hadar Noiberg Trio at Steve’s Live Music was a great way to transition out of this totally awesome day school rabbi day.