lreeves's blog

Engaging each child as they are: A story of the Ten Commandments and Mr. Rogers

I hear somewhat regularly from parents who want Shoresh to make explicit connections between some more secular concepts (think recycling, interfaith relationships, feeding the poor) and Judaism, so here’s the explicit Jewish connection to watching a Mr. Rogers documentary and learning mental health first aid training. These experiences help me continue to try to create an environment at Shoresh and KAM Isaiah Israel where we welcome each child for who they are. We engage with children and don’t shy away from difficult concepts. We recognize talents on and off stage. We connect with children and help children connect with each other and create community. The community at Shoresh and KAM Isaiah Israel may just be the place where your teen meets the adult to whom they can reach out and say “I’m having a hard time and need help.”

In our nine b'nei mitzvah this year, THIS was the best part.

This school year our community had the incredible privilege of being part of nine students’ b’nei mitzvah. I love sitting in the congregation during these b’nei mitzvah services with the student’s classmates and families. The b’nei mitzvah student leads us in prayer. The parents and I shed tears together as we see the b’nei mitzvah hold the Torah for the first time. We clap together and shout “Mazel tov!” Students gather on the bima with the b’nei mitzvah to sing motzi together at the end of the service. We exchange hugs. We part ways, saying “See you soon!”, and look forward to the next time we see each other.

But the best part isn't any of that.

Brit Kavod

Shoresh is committed to the Jewish value of kavod/respect, for which there are corresponding behavior expectations. A brit is a covenant. This year, we are asking Shoresh parents to read through this section and enter into a brit, a covenant, with their student(s), with other families, and with our Shoresh community to bring kavod (respect) and shalom (peace) to Shoresh each week.