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September 11, 2020

In this week’s Torah portion we read,

You stand this day, all of you, before Adonai – your tribal leaders, your elders and your officials, all the men of Israel, your children, your wives, even the stranger within your camp, from woodchopper to water drawer – to enter into the covenant of Adonai, your God, which God is concluding with you this say, with its sanctions…I make this covenant, with its sanctions, not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before Adonai our God and with those who are not with us here this day. (Deuteronomy 29:9-14)

This is one of my favorite texts for a two reasons:

  1. Everyone is included.  OK fine, women come after men and children, but the fact that women are mentioned at all is pretty impressive for our ancient texts.  Plus the woodchoppers and water drawers!  At a time when we are placing great effort into making sure access and inclusivity are at the forefront of our minds it’s nice to see that in one our most seminal stories, we made sure to be inclusive.
  2. God makes this covenant, not just with everyone standing at Sinai, but with all of the Jewish people from that point forward (those who are not with us here this day).  For me, one of the post powerful aspects of our tradition is the idea that we are but one link in a massive chain of tradition, stretching both behind and ahead of us.  To know that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves is extremely powerful – to know that my great, great, great grandparents read the same stories and said the same prayers makes me feel connected far beyond my family and my community.

 

This year, by joining our community, you are making an important statement that just as KI will always stand with you during difficult times, you too will stand with us in those moments.  You are making a statement about the importance of Jewish tradition and continuity, for the generations both behind and ahead of you.  And you are messaging to your children that KI is a place of safety and security, even when the world is upended. 

Like the Jews at Mount Sinai, we stand together, putting trust in each other and about what our future looks like.  And what a privilege it is to be standing here with each of you. 

 

Shabbat Shalom.

Rabbi Carrie  


SePTEMBER 4, 2020

 

What We Owe to Each Other 

Tonight I get to meet my 4 month old niece, albeit socially distanced in my aunt's backyard. There will be four generations present, from four great-grandchildren to my 86 year old grandmother. A typical family gathering involves planning the food, location, and maybe some family gossip. Nowadays, we must also discuss COVID-19, and how we can spend time together other while also staying safe and healthy. 

Our families as well as our school and synagogue community grapple with the same questions. How can we connect with one another in the safest way possible at the moment? How do we balance the need to socialize while protecting ourselves from a highly contagious virus? 

 Never before did I think that my actions: the places I go, people I see, activities I engage in; would so directly affect those around me. Putting our children in school together this year means that we have entered into a substantial social pact with one another. What we do and who we interact with (and how often we stay home) on the weekends has a direct effect on the children, teachers, and staff in this building.

Our teachers and maintenance crew are doing a fantastic job with new protocols and routines. Children are so resilient, and when there is so much fun and exploration taking place in each classroom, the masks become a non-issue very quickly. We know that you are depending on us to help create an environment here in school that is as clean and safe as possible, and we appreciate your partnership in this process. 

Connecting with each of you, even during this time is also important to me in my new role as Associate Director of the ECC. I look forward to finding unique ways to talk and learn more about you and your family in the coming weeks and months. While we must remain vigilant about safety, the strength of our Kehillah (community) is also paramount. 

 Have a wonderful and safe weekend, and don't forget to wear your mask! 

Shabbat Shalom, 
 Alana Levitt


August 28th 2020

Shabbat Shalom everyone!


This week was, understandably, a huge transition for all of us.  For our students they left the place that has been their primary place of being for the last 5 months.  Even though they were excited to see their friends and teachers, it is still a jarring change to be in a different space and with different people.  Please know that it is completely normal for them to be emotionally and physically worn out at the end of the day, as they return to navigating school life.
Moreover, whether they have articulated it or not, they have absolutely grown much closer to you in this time and the emotional baggage of separation is present, even if they hugged you and happily skipped into school.  The good news is that just as they have successfully transitioned through every previous experience, so too will they successfully transition through this one.  In the days and weeks to come (as many students save their transition struggles for a few weeks in), please continue to rely on our amazing team of teachers to guide your child through this experience.
And for us too, even though we can be honest and say it was nice to have some space from our children, we can also acknowledge that there has been a coziness to the last few months that we might be missing right now.  
In particular, with drop off being moved from the classroom line to the carpool line, it is important that we have a smooth drop off process so it feels both calm and positive for our students.  To this end, we strongly recommend arriving before 9 AM so that your child can be settled in the classroom when class begins and that you use the following order when dropping off:

  1. Open Brightwheel when you are waiting in line.
  2. Temperature check from Rabbi Daniel or Alana
  3. When you are the 1st or 2nd car, unbuckle your child, give them their water bottle and a hug and hand them off to their teacher.
  4. Check in using Brightwheel (we may ask you to pull forward to do this)

This ensures that your child has your full attention when they are with you, and allows the line to move as quickly as possible.  

The Jewish people are a group that is constantly faced with transition, most of it not being of our own choice.  Like our biblical and historical ancestors, and like Nachschon, who I spoke about at Back to School Night, we too must take the next steps forward, with a positive, forward thinking framework.  It is with this intention that we end our first, and truly excellent, week of this new year.  
Wishing you and your family a peaceful and restful Shabbat.


Rabbi Carrie

Thu, September 24 2020 6 Tishrei 5781