To my precious families:

I can’t believe this is my last newsletter of the school year! It’s been a fabulous year full of learning and growing in 5782! Thank you for welcoming me into your children’s lives. Thank you to the teachers, parents, Rabbi Krishef, Rabbi Schadick, members of the UJS board, Congregation Ahavas Israel, Temple Emanuel, and the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids. Without these amazing entities, UJS couldn’t be possible. We are so blessed!

We’re so proud this year to have instituted so many wonderful active and immersive Jewish experiences for students. This year, we’ve added Jewish Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation (YMM), Jewish baking, Israeli dance, and T’filah every Sunday morning. We have also increased our security measures, adding more hired security officers as well as having multiple security evacuations drills. We’ve engaged students of all ages in mitzvot throughout the year, including raising $613 to plant trees in Israel. Kol hakavod!

As I write this, I must acknowledge what’s sitting heavily on my heart and the trauma our Grand Rapids community is experiencing after the death of Patrick Lyoya who was shot and killed by a police officer. We are more committed now more than ever to creating a welcoming community for everyone where we can learn from one another, empathize with one another and support one another, and where we look beyond the walls of the synagogue to connect with our community-at-large as well. Zichrono livracha.

Before we bring this year to a close, I want to note a few valuable moments coming up that will continue to connect our community. On May 8th, we will be celebrating Yom Ha’atsma’ut — Israel’s Independence Day! We have a special guest, our community shaliach, Ophir Tal, who will appear on our big screen television and will interact with our kids in real time, straight from Tel Aviv. Kids will be asking him questions, getting to know him, and Ophir will be sharing with us his love of his beloved homeland.

Our last day of school will be May 15th. In the past, we’ve done a field day with lawn games and fun activities. This year, we’d like to go out with a bang! It would be amazing to have a big BBQ, music, and some entertainment. I am looking for parent volunteers to help me organize this. If you are interested, please email me.

Thank you again for a fabulous year of growth and Jewish learning. I can’t wait for next fall as we’ll continue to build on the momentum we gained throughout the year. 


Cantor David Fair
Educational Director of the United Jewish School

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