September 8, 2017
It is my pleasure to be writing the first of many Kesher notes. I want to take this opportunity to welcome each of you to this new school year. For students, parents, faculty and friends of Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School, this is a wonderful time of year. What has astounded me is the excitement with which our students have embraced the new school year. Of course there were first day jitters, but the joy our students, faculty and families exuded as they entered the school was absolutely infectious and jitters were soon forgotten.
It is appropriate that the school year starts as we welcome in the Jewish month of Tishri. The holidays of Tishri are filled with promises of the new year and starting again. For my family, this school year is truly a new beginning as my kids and I have started together at Paul Penna DJDS — a change for all of us. Personally, the start of this school year feels different. Everything is new, yet there is a comfortable and familiar sense. The halls and stairwells of this building are my old stomping ground, as the MNjcc was my community centre as a child and the place where my Jewish Education and after-school programs all took place. In addition, being part of a small downtown school is reminiscent of my own elementary experience where I graduated from Grade Six with the same students I met in Kindergarten.
The gifts of a small school are seen in so many aspects of its operation. The connections between people, the sharing of resources and space as well as the many hats people wear are some of the hallmarks of a small school. The comfort our students experienced as they entered our halls after a summer away was the strongest indicator of the small, caring, familial community that Paul Penna DJDS has created. The smiles, hugs and stories exchanged between friends and between students and teachers were priceless. Our children are comfortable here, and it is within that comfort that their growth and learning can thrive.
So I welcome each of you — those returning and those like me, new to our Paul Penna DJDS community — to the new school year. My wish for all of us is a year of peace and growth, one where we can each rise to be our best selves and get the most out of what this wonderful school has to offer. My door, email and phone line are open, and my greatest hope is to connect with each of you reading this message.