Every week towards the beginning of our Kabbalat Shabbat service, Rabbi Hahn Tapper instructs us to take a big breath in and hold on to the things from the week that served us and then when we breathe out to let go of all those things from the week that didn’t serve us and leave them behind. Yesterday morning at 10:57 am, I asked the 8th graders to take a big breath in, hold onto the love from their teachers, and stay present for the next hour. I knew that when graduation started three minutes later, it would be their moment to shine.
And they truly shined. This Yavneh Class of 2020 is just amazing. Collectively, they are passionate about social justice, attentive big buddies, strong leaders, and compassionate people. The common theme in their reflections was connection. Being apart since March forced them to rethink what it meant to be part of Kitah Chet. How would they be the school leaders if school was entirely on a virtual platform? Used to learning in Havruta, partners, how would studying text work with everyone on different screens? These graduates spoke about Yavneh being their second home and how their connections to each other, their teachers, their learning and the school remained strong. True connection transcends a physical location. While we might not be ready, they are ready to leave their Yavneh nest and start their next chapter.
Many of the parents of the Class of 2020 are graduating along with the class. Many of these parents have been with Yavneh for over 10 years and, like their children, this group of parents is part of our Yavneh family. Collectively, they are extraordinary volunteers, quick to help others, and very generous with their time and energy. They chose together that their class gift would be a donation to Yavneh’s Emergency Campaign to help families to continue to receive the gift of a Yavneh education if their family was impacted by COVID-19. With the help of an anonymous match, they raised over $50,000. Click this link for a list of all the families who have supported Yavneh through the school year.
When I take a big breath in tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to hold onto the love that I feel for each graduate and not let it go.