Dear IRDS families,
“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)
Judaism teaches that when we hurt one person, three parties are injured: The one we offended, G-d, and ourselves. We must ask forgiveness from all three, but in a specific order. We must start with the one we offended, then ask for G-d’s forgiveness; only then can we seek forgiveness from ourselves. Certainly we don’t have to wait for Yom Kippur to apologize to those we have hurt. When an appropriate occasion presents itself, we ought to take it. But sometimes we can’t find, or make the right time, so the Jewish calendar creates time for us during the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance, Aseret Yemei Teshuva, between Rosh Ha’Shana and Yom Kippur.
Going back to the opening quote, it can be connected to the Yom Kippur theme of how we are able to affect those around us for better, for worse, but inevitably either way leave a lasting impact. With that being said, it is also appropriate to understand this quote with IRDS’s educational philosophy in mind. If you ask any adult to elaborate on a lesson he/she enjoyed during his/her elementary school years, we guarantee that he/she won’t be talking about the academic topic that the teacher was teaching, or the three creative activities that the teacher planned so carefully a week before. The memory will be focused on the feeling that the teacher and/or activity helped create. “I can’t remember what we did, all I know is that she made writing so much fun!” or “I remember something about a science project that had to do with volcanoes, and I remember how much the teacher believed in me and complimented my idea.”
At IRDS we want to make sure our students are knowledgeable about their Judaism, and with that we strive to design educational experiences which will develop lasting memories of positive feelings. These will eventually build a healthy and confident blend of Jewish and American identity for a happy and successful future. Last Friday, grades 3-5 took part in the Tashlich ceremony at Zumma beach, throwing away this past year’s sins through this meaningful ritual. Tomorrow we deliberately stay open for half a day in order for all of us to come together, ECE up to 5th grade, for a communal Yom Kippur service. We believe in these real-life experiences, because when our students become adults and look back on their elementary school years, they might not remember the personal story they wrote to explain the four steps of T’shuva, or who they sat next to at services. However, and more importantly, they will hopefully always remember with a smile that powerful feeling of assurance and support when you pray with a community during a more challenging time, when our weaknesses are exposed. And may they always remember the feeling of pride after being proactive and going outside of their everyday routine to try to look inside themselves and find the strength to improve.
G’mar Chatima Tova to you all.