We are honoring the BIG “machers” this year!

March 29, 2019

Enjoy this week's Ta Shma


Dear Beit Rabban Community,

Our annual gala, Manna from Heaven, is coming up in late May.  The event will leave you feeling full of nachas, gratitude and hope as well as full of excellent food and drink. So save the date, May 30.

Beit Rabban is a community that is held up by the work of its many devoted members. Parents, staff, students, and other community members have a voice in shaping and reshaping our school, and they also take responsibility to help implement our values.Each year at Manna from Heaven we highlight someone in our community who plays an essential role in ensuring the ongoing vitality of our school. This year, we are doing something different.

We have decided to honor  the BIG machers (see Yiddish Slang Dictionary)... all the Jewish professionals within our parent body, and we are calling them "Rabbanan Beit Rabban." We take immense pride in the fact that Beit Rabban has always been a school where Jewish professionals -- clergy, educators, academics, artists and non-profit professionals -- send their children for a Jewish education. It speaks to the highly committed and diverse makeup of our parent body. I believe it is also critical to  our ability to prioritize the teaching of Judaism with both rigor and joy. 

I spend a lot of time in conversation with other school leaders, including many who run pluralistic, non-denominational, or liberal Jewish day schools. And I know that many of my colleagues in the non-Orthodox day school world struggle to satisfy a parent body that worries about their children's schools being "too Jewish" -- too much time spent learning text, too much emphasis on prayer, too much talk of God. I am acutely aware of and extremely grateful for the fact that I have never once felt this tension. Our parent body has a lot to say about the way we teach Judaism -- about how we discuss God, about how we teach Rashi, about the language of prayer, about the particular tradition of Torah reading troupe we choose, about how we ensure that our children are asking Jewish question and considering Jewish values in all their learning. These are the conversations I have regularly with parents, but I never have to justify Jewish learning as a priority.

There are a lot of reasons that Beit Rabban is unusual in the realm of non-Orthodox schools. It has to do with our founder Dr. Devorah Steinmetz and our founding history; with the true diversity of affiliation and practice among our families; with a faculty comprised of sophisticated Jews, etc.  I believe, it also has a lot to do with the fact that we have always had a significant group of parents who work as Jewish professionals and have spent a lot of time thinking about Jewish education, community, and continuity outside of their own children's experience. 

This school year, 35% of Beit Rabban families include one or more parent who works for a Jewish organization. Their choice to send their children to Beit Rabban is a badge of honor for the school. It also is a backbone of the type of unique family community we strive for at Beit Rabban, one that is both Jewishly diverse and Jewishly committed. 
We hope you will join us at Manna from Heaven on May 30th to celebrate these big machers, our "Rabbanan Beit Rabban." Individual names of honorees are listed below, and you should look out for an invitation in your inbox this coming week. We promise an epic evening of nachas and revelry. 

Wishing all a restful and rejuvenating Shabbat,
Stephanie