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 In Hashavua Article

L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim – next year in Jerusalem.

Passover offers us so many profound moments of reflection and connection. Each year we are given the opportunity to reflect with fresh eyes at the world that shaped us and aspire to what it could be.This year our perspective is powerfully influenced by the pandemic and our aspiration for freedom has recently started to feel like it may be on the horizon. We are seeing windows of hope and optimism all around us with more people receiving vaccines and continued improvements in the case rates in our county and across the country. It truly feels like we are on the verge of better times and it is that hope that propels us.

One of the most inspiring moments in the seder for many Diaspora Jews is at the conclusion when we exclaim: “L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim – Next Year in Jerusalem.” While the hope of literally hopping on a plane bound for Jerusalem certainly rings true, our tradition implores us to think both metaphorically and pragmatically about what we want for the upcoming year.

Here at Yavneh, our community has wished for many things for our students this year. We have worked hard to keep our students and faculty safe while also supporting their emotional, academic and spiritual need for connection and community. We’ve innovated as a community to adapt to new learning formats and utilized technology in the most productive ways. And we have aspired to keep our children “whole” as the world navigates its way through this global crisis. Now that we are approaching Passover, it feels like the right time to share our vision of what we hope “Next Year in Jerusalem” will look like at Yavneh.

Next year, we intend to be as close to “normal” as we can be by being fully on campus for the first day of school. While we are thankful for the technology that facilitated much of our learning this year, we are looking forward to screens not being at the center of many of our lessons. Instead, we intend to get back to what we all love most about Yavneh: our inspiring community-based curriculum that supports children academically, personally and Jewishly. Next year, our eighth graders will visit Israel together for their culminating journey and our Milestone ceremonies will be held in person. This is only a small window into what we are planning for the upcoming year.

As we continue to build our vision of what “normal” can and will look like at Yavneh, health and safety remain priorities and we believe strongly that safety and meaningful learning opportunities can go hand in hand. We can keep our students safe while also growing their minds and nurturing their souls. We will continue to apply best practices and follow County guidelines to keep our community safe, including closely following trends over the summer to enhance our return plans for the fall. Our faculty will be on campus and fully vaccinated at the start of the new school year. It is likely that we will still be wearing masks, washing our hands, requiring COVID screening tests, and maintaining some level of physical distancing throughout the year. However, we will be together and the insight we’ve gained this year will shine a light into the coming year.

While we know that a return to normalcy is exciting, we also appreciate that for some families that prospect may be a little farther off. We will be reaching out to families with at-home learners next month to start a dialogue.

As always, if you have any questions or want to discuss your child’s experience at Yavneh, please reach out.

Chag Pesach Sameach,

Cindy