CALENDAR
This is the Ta Shma Weekly Newsletter, a publication for the Beit Rabban Day School Community.
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April 18, 2019/ 13 Nissan , 5779
Head of School Message
Dear Beit Rabban Community,

I recently had the pleasure of studying the Hagadah at a shiur given by our school's founder, Dr. Devora Steinmetz. I was particularly taken by Devora's reading of the familiar text from Sefer Shemot that serves as the guiding principle of the Seder experience and from which we derive the word "Hagadah":

וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לְבִנְךָ֔ בַּיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא לֵאמֹ֑ר בַּעֲב֣וּר זֶ֗ה עָשָׂ֤ה ה' לִ֔י בְּצֵאתִ֖י מִמִּצְרָֽיִם
And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what the LORD did for me when I went free from Egypt.'

Devora made the point almost in passing that
בִנְךָ֔, "you child," mentioned in this verse refers to each of us. We are all descendants who did not experience miracles ourselves, who need to be taught and to internalize the story of our people. In contrast, I have always read this verse as obligating adults specifically to teach children. When biblical commentators explain that this verse establishes a positive commandment to say specific things at the Seder, I have understood them to mean that adults are obligated to retell for the benefit of our children. But the Torah is speaking of  all future  Jews who would not have experienced the miracles of the Exodus. We, the adults at a Seder, are no more intimately connected to those formative experiences between God and our people than are the children at our Seder. 

I have been thinking about this all week and also wondering why I keep thinking about it. After all, it is a fairly obvious reading of the text. 

Here's why it is sticking with me. I think being aware that we are all learners -- irrespective of age, position or title -- is the determinate  factor between a deeply meaningful Seder and a brutally painful one. Think of the difference between a Seder where the person facilitating engages with everyone present in authentic conversation versus one where the facilitator is the exclusive teacher, holding and distributing all the wisdom at their discretion. The key to a Seder that is a meaningful learning experience for all, where we all fulfill our obligation of " וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לְבִנְךָ֔," is ensuring that every person there is both a teacher and a student. 

This also speaks directly and profoundly to our work at Beit Rabban. Our classrooms are most alive and holy when each person in the room -- teachers and students alike -- curiously engages with others and with whatever text or content is being considered, intent on growing from the shared learning experience. As educators we strive to facilitate our student's growth intellectually, emotionally  and spiritually. The most effective way for us to do that is to be fully engaged in the learning process with them: to listen closely to our students, to engage personally with our content, and to always retain the humility of a learner. We have to remember that we adults are also the " בִנְךָ֔" who  must continue to be taught.

Wishing all a redemptive Pesach,
Stephanie
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Need Your Prayers
We pray for refuah shelemah, complete healing, for:
  • Dori Shifra bat Masha Aviva, Beit Rabban teacher who is recovering from a fall.
  • Michael ben Chaya, father of Yaron Schwartz and grandfather of Shane in Anafim.
  • Patricia bat Elsa, caregiver in our community going through chemotherapy.
  • David Uri ben Aviva, father of Gan student.
  • Tziviya Devorah bat Zelda Zichlah, mother of Gan student.
  • Yosef ben Rachel, father of Gan student who is recovering from heart surgery.
  • Sarah Leah bat Yocheved Ruth, mother of Jennifer Taviv and grandmother of Ariela in Shtillim and Temima in Nitzanim.
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