As we look back over the past few days, we can all agree that it qualifies as one of the most surreal, chaotic, and stressful times in our lives. While our community and nation are in the midst of a public health crisis, it is also important for us to take a deep breath, pause, and recognize what has brought us hope and comfort during these unprecedented times - our community.
Amidst all the tumult, the strength and beauty of the Hillel Day School community have shined. We are thankful for the outpouring of support from staff, students, and parents for our colleague who, we are happy to report, is feeling better and is recovering at home. We shed happy tears as our community came together - albeit virtually - to celebrate the moments that define why Hillel exists: 67 families lit Shabbat candles together last Friday, and 94 families marked Havdalah yesterday. Our hearts swell with an appreciation for our incredible teachers who have spent countless hours preparing for remote learning, most going above and beyond by directly communicating with their students last Friday, and receiving heartwarming responses in return. In the coming days and weeks, we will share a glimpse into these incredible connections that cannot be weakened virtually.
Overall, these are tough times. Quite understandably, there is much disappointment over the multitude of postponed and canceled events. There is frustration that the hard work and dedication of our students may never be able to be displayed. There is sadness in saying l’hitraot (or, hopefully, see you soon) to our wonderful shinshinim, Noa and Yuval, who were ordered back to Israel. There is uncertainty about whether our eighth-graders will be able to celebrate the culmination of their Hillel experience in Israel, and we share in their extreme dismay should the trip be canceled.
Yet there is hope. Hope that the grit and resilience we instill in our students will be evident and grow stronger. Hope that our community will learn from each other, even child to parent as we invite parents to observe their children’s remote learning. Hope that our core Jewish values, especially Derech Eretz (respect for all) and K’lal Yisrael (the unity of the Jewish people), will guide and support one another, and all those in need.
And who would have predicted that the devices that are the objects of such battles with our children would become such vital tools? Social connections are a critical part of who we are. We are all accustomed to coming together. Our students rely on these moments, as well. The beauty of observing our students already engaging in Google Hangouts with their advisor, or in circle time with their ECC teachers, are simply incredible. We are excited for our parents to now get a glimpse of the magic that happens at Hillel every single day.
As our community, our city, and our nation continue to learn more about the COVID-19 pandemic, Hillel remains committed to inspiring a passion for learning and innovation, and to being a “place” for deep and meaningful relationships. Despite the physical distance this virus has placed between us, we will continue to create opportunities for our students and families to bring sacred learning into their lives.
This will be new, this will be different, this will take time, and it might be hard. Let’s appreciate the fortune of our health, our community, our teachers, and our children. May we all be blessed with good health during this uncertain time, and be thankful for the community that we have built, and which will see us through this period of time.
Thinking of you all,
Amy SchlusselDirector of Advancement