This morning I woke up and, being from Los Angeles, saw on my weather app an icon I had never seen before. It was the symbol of a snowflake. I went downstairs, opened the door, realized I was not wearing the appropriate clothing for the 21-degree weather and saw many more snowflake icons falling from the sky. I immediately called my children to the front door, and their reactions were priceless.
Adin was the first one there and exclaimed with a huge smile “it is snowing” and called to his siblings to check it out. Yona did what I can only describe as an “it is snowing” dance. Adyra seemed mesmerized by the flurries, and Evan said: “it feels like rain.” Asher, my teenager, put on his headphones and did not seem to notice. I called a Chicago friend of mine and said “it is pouring snow” to which he quickly corrected me by telling me “we don’t say that.”
Seeing my kid’s reaction to snow falling for the first time where they lived was special. There was a sense of excitement, wonder, and amazement. For me, there was a sense of dread wondering if my new parka was rated appropriately for this weather, but that was overshadowed by the smiles, laughs, and joy emanating from my children. It was the wonder and joy that got me thinking about what we strive for at Akiba.
We believe that our students should learn something new every day that engages them. As William Butler Yeats said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Sure, there is plenty of content and skills to acquire, but we believe that it is best acquired when it is applied to the world around them and personally meaningful. We believe that every child we teach must be individually reached so that what they learn is just as important as how they learn. Sure, my kids will not be as amazed the next time they see snow. However, at Akiba, we try to engage our students in new Jewish and worldly learning experiences often and in personally meaningful ways so that it can be like seeing snow for the first time each time they learn something new.
On a final note, everything I just described is not possible without a fantastic staff ofeducators. I want to thank them and encourage all of you to join me in thanking them, for the great job they do on a daily basis and, especially, for their time given to parent-teacher conferences this week. Many came to school early and stayed well into the evening to accommodate the parents. Thank you for your dedication!