by Miriam Kass, Principal

The Talmud tells us, “When the month of Adar arrives, joy increases.” Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar, the first day of the Jewish month of Adar. Has your joy increased yet?

For many of us, it’s not quite as simple as turning a calendar page, especially this year. While we can look ahead to the festive holidays of Purim and Passover, we know that they will likely be quite different this year due to COVID. We may need to work a little harder to notice the joy in our lives and to allow it to increase. 

Spending time teaching and learning with our students at Akiba-Schechter makes finding and growing the joy much easier. Positive Psychology Professor Tal Ben Sha-har explains that, “Happiness is the intersection of pleasure and meaning.” Such an intersection was present this past week when our 5th/6th graders performed the classroom play "Anansi the Spider" with a soundtrack of their own creation and dressed in student-made costumes; and when our 7th/8th graders used their blossoming coding skills to make an animated Scratch presentation about the features and importance of human skin; and when the 1st/2nd graders asked thoughtful and engaging questions of their Art and Architecture of Europe tour guide on Zoom; and when our Kindergarteners rose to the challenge of creating cityscapes and more with 100 dots of paint (in preparation for their 100th Day of School celebration, of course). The joys produced by meaningful learning are alive and well both in and out of our classrooms, even during these dark and cold COVID days. 

Sometimes, joy is just plain old fun, like playing in the snow. This month we have planned several (surprise) activities to increase that kind of joy, too. And while we won’t be in school on Purim itself, we will still have our annual Spirit Week full of themed dress-up days voted on by our 3rd-8th grade students. 

Spirit Week:

Wednesday, February 17: Dress like a FRIEND day (Grade School only)

Thursday, February 18: Dress like a MEME day (Grade School only)

Friday, February 19: Dress in a SINGLE COLOR day (All School)

Monday, February 22: Dress like an ANIMAL day (All School)

Tuesday, February 23: Dress in your SPORTS wear day (All School)

Wednesday, February 24: Dress in your PAJAMAS day (All School)

Thursday, February 25: Dress in your PURIM COSTUME (Half day: Grade School is
remote; PS/KDG in session)

On a personal note, I wish to thank all of you for your words, emails, cards, and gestures of kindness. After spending two weeks at home riding a mild COVID rollercoaster, I felt an even greater appreciation for all we’ve been doing as a community to keep COVID out. And throughout, my family and I felt buoyed by the love we received from all of you.

Thank you, and Shabbat Shalom!