Between rolling hills and trees, among butterflies, bunnies and birds, in Agoura California, there is a special Jewish community day school with one specific vision: Education is Sacred Work. We take this vision very seriously, and take pride in the fact that we ARE what we say we DO.
This year began with a faculty orientation that focused on our school’s mission. It continued with a Back to School Night, which highlighted why we see ourselves as a Sacred Community, and lately we have been addressing various social-emotional issues between students in order to keep our communal values and educational mission aligned.
Looking ahead to a new exciting 2017, we would like to ensure our sacred community stays strong and welcoming. Empathy is a key word we will try to use more of with the students. Empathy unites, empathy diminishes hurt feelings, empathy allows us to realize that we live in a class, a school, a community, a world with other people, which we must take into consideration because our actions impact them one way or another. In the Bible it says: “Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings. For should they fall, one can raise the other.” (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10) Finding empathy in our hearts will help us set the tone for human behavior that is truly admirable. It is considered to be admirable because at times it is a challenging task to do.
It is challenging to get angry without losing your temper, it is challenging to work with another peer who has working habits that are the exact opposite to yours. It is extremely challenging to take responsibility for a behavior you regret doing, and to trust that your peers will really give you a chance to start fresh the next day. It is challenging to recognize that you might be mistreating someone else without even noticing, and challenging to focus on not showing your disappointment when you are grouped with a peer you dislike, just so that you won’t risk hurting his/her feelings. It is all so challenging, yet it is done every day by your children through our social-emotional lessons, lessons that are based on strengthening that empathy muscle in their hearts.
As a sacred community, our behaviors should always strive to model the values we wish to instill in our children. We turn to you, our true partners in this meaningful journey, and ask for your support on the home front. In our sacred community, we should all feel included despite our different political views. In our sacred community, food should be kosher at communal events so that all of the guests will be able to enjoy the treats. In our sacred community, all children should be invited to birthday parties, so that no child is left behind with hurt feelings. In our sacred community, we should BE what we say we DO, and all feel a sense of belonging. Not because we love each other so genuinely, but because we have respect and empathy toward one another, and because as a community it is the right thing to do.
May 2017 bring hope, happiness and many memorable moments for our sacred community.
From the Administration, Faculty and Staff at IRDS
Posted on Mon, January 9, 2017
by Yuri Hronsky