From a very early age, my son loved counting. He’d chalk numbers on the sidewalk, count the cheerios in his bowl, and loved being timed. For him, numbers represented something tangible, a structure that he understood and something to hold onto.
In this time of uncertainty, we all need something to keep us grounded and focused on what is truly important. For me, the thing that has kept me grounded over the last few weeks, has been the opportunity to visit every class at Yavneh and witness the deep, meaningful learning that is transpiring each day. From creating a class newspaper, to writing a short story, to studying Surrealism, to working in groups to solve math problems, Yavneh students are always learning.
But I’ve also come to realize that my son was onto something with his counting as a tool for focus; even the Jewish tradition offers counting as a way to keep us focused on our vision and goals. Right now, during the counting of the Omer, we count the 49/50 days from the second day of Pesach to Shavuot. While 50 is a nice number (it’s my current age), my favorite number today is 110 – that’s the number of days until our first day of school on August 25, 2020. Although I can’t say what that first day will look like, I can share that we will be following the 2020-2021 school calendar that was published in January. And counting toward that day is keeping me energized, focused and grounded.
We formed a contingency task force to help think through the principles that will guide our decisions for next school year. Our overarching goal is to do everything we can to take care of our students, faculty, families and community. Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Bazeh – we are responsible for one another. Below is the draft of our 5 principles:
Principle 1, Din v’rachamim (Balance between justice and compassion): After the government eases restrictions, we should determine our own timing of when and how to return to campus.
Principle 2, Derech Eretz (following the right path): We need to be as clear and transparent as possible about the rationale for all decisions made.
Principle 3, B’tzelem Elohim (our uniqueness): All decisions should be made within the lens of our four fundamental beliefs, a reflection of our values and ethics, and the health and safety of all constituents.
Principle 4, Kavod (honoring others): We will strive to be flexible in our educational approach to accommodate the various COVID-19 related needs of our families, within safe practice guidelines and feasibility.
Principle 5, Pikuach Nefesh (saving lives): We will safeguard the health of our community based on the highest standards of public health directives.
In addition to using these principles to make decisions, we need to hear from you. Please complete this survey to share your feedback for how things are going this year as well as any thoughts and considerations you feel we should take into account as we plan the next academic school year. We’d appreciate your responses by Monday, May 11th.
Tomorrow, my favorite number will be 109 and I’m looking forward to the day when that number becomes 1.