My dearest UJS families,
Happy New Year! As we begin 2022, I can’t help but feel such a sense of pride in all of the teachers, board members, and administrators of the United Jewish School. Personally, I had no idea what I was stepping into when I began in this role in July. But I found out pretty quickly that everyone that works for the school truly engages our children in Jewish knowledge, values, and pride. Every single one of the teachers is deeply invested in using modern educational tools to excite their students. Students feel special and valued.
Most importantly, kids are having FUN! I can’t tell you how often I see kids on scavenger hunts, cooking in our kitchen, dancing, singing, or making really fascinating art! Just last month, I walked into the 5th and 6th grade art classrooms and found the kids making art in the style of Marc Chagall (originally named Moishe Shagal) and they couldn’t wait to tell me exactly what each facet of their drawing meant. In T’filah, I am amazed at how quickly students are learning our prayers and even volunteering to lead our prayers! The students at UJS are deeply spiritual kids who have a true curiosity in what the concept of God is and why prayer can be beneficial.
We use the Shalom Learning curriculum, which is truly one of the best in our country. Last semester, students in every grade were focused on Teshuvah: Taking responsibility for your actions, B’Tzelem Elohim: Honoring the image of God in ourselves, and Gevurah: Using one’s inner and outer strength.
A reminder that we will NOT be meeting again in 2021. School is closed December 19 and 26. Also closed January 2nd. United Jewish School begins again on Sunday, January 9, 2022!
Next semester, students will be focused on Achrayut: Doing what you can to make the world a better place, HaKarat HaTov: Seeking joy and being grateful, Koach HaDibbur: Understanding the power of words, and Shalom: Helping to create a calmer, more peaceful world.
Another way we’ll find new meaning and relevance in our faith is examining Judaism through the lens of current events. What is happening in our world around us that informs and influences our Jewish values? How can we be g’borim (heroes) and when do we take a stand for tsedakah (justice)? During Passover, we will remember that we too were strangers in a foreign land. During Yom Hazikaron, we will honor the soldiers who fought and died for Israel. For Israeli Independence Day, and we will show our pride in our homeland. For Holocaust Rememberance Day, we will tell the stories of those who lost their lives in the Holocaust — we will make sure we never forget.
It is my honor to lead the United Jewish School. I am thrilled to see us through another semester of kids being kids and loving being Jewish!
Cantor David Fair