October 4, 2019
This Rosh Hashana provided for interesting learning and reflection. At synagogue, while listening to Rabbi Rothschild, I was introduced to the importance of the Perpetual Offering – the ritual from Temple times that Israelites were to offer up a sacrifice in the morning and at night. The interpretation he presented explained that this ritual was meant to reinforce daily habits. This led me to contemplate daily routines at school that make up the heart and soul of who we are. What are the elements of our school day that have become habit and what do they say about who we are as a school?
From the very first day of Kindergarten, our students learn the importance of greeting one another in a positive way. Morning circle is an opportunity to teach the implicit value of being heard and known. Here at Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School, knowing each student by face and name is of utmost importance. Our students become well-known by their classmates and teachers and also by the administrative team. Standing at the door and greeting families as they enter each morning is a highlight of the day for faculty members.
We also encourage the importance of gratitude in our daily routines. In Grade 5, students end each day by writing something they are grateful for on a sticky note and placing it, folded up, in a jar. As part of their Shabbat routine, each child reads one of the gratitude notes from the week. It allows the children to recognize the exceptionality of each day and reflect on what their peers gained from the same set of experiences.
Rabbi Rothschild’s submission framed the importance of engaging in the same routine over and over again, and underlined the value of our routines at Paul Penna DJDS. This Rosh Hashana lesson will keep me at the front door greeting you each morning and will continue to connect me to what is most important in my work – being grateful for the children and families here. As you enter 5780, I invite you to take some time to consider the family and school rituals that, time and time again, keep you connected to what truly matters.