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A Week of Memory Making

We shared a week of communal learning and memory-making.

On Monday, K-8 traveled to Riverside Park to watch the solar eclipse, where many other family members and caregivers joined us. Teachers brought guitars, and we sang songs of amazement and awe like "Mah Rabu Maasecha HaShem," How wonderous are your actions, HaShem. Together we said the berachah "Yotzer HaMeorot," thanking the One who created the great lights.

Later in the week, our Ilanot middle school students hosted the community at Anu: the Ilanot Heritage Museum, where each student showcased an artifact of significance to their family story. We visited exhibits that included a purple heart medal from WWII; a 200-year-old Megillat Esther from Allepo, Syria; a needlepoint tablecloth made in a displaced person's camp after WWII; an Iraqi good health amulet from the early 1900s; and many more. We also read poetry the students wrote about their heritages, learned about the origins of their names, and enjoyed divrei Torah comparing two biblical commandments that require us to pass the story of Pesach from generation to generation: "Shaal at avichah v'yagedcha," ask your parent, and they will tell you; and "V'higata l'bincha," tell your children.

Today, each student was accompanied to class by a "Someone Special," including parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members, and many friends. Powerful intergenerational learning and song reverberated through the building. Finally, we shared a special version of our weekly school assembly, Shabbat B'Yachad. We swapped students for their grown-ups, and our special guests shared highlights from the day, reflecting on the joy and optimism they experienced joining the children who invited them to school today. We closed with a communal singing of Hatikvah, during which I felt the room was praying rather than singing a national anthem.

Thank you for this memorable week- it was the sort of week that obviously builds community, memories, and belonging for our children.

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