You’re all going to hear a lot about Rosh HaShanah next week. Rabbinic sermons, apples and honey, and parking issues at shul are just around the corner; it’s hard to believe that we are about to welcome 5772 in just a few short days. In light of the upcoming high holiday overload I’ll spare you any deep words of wisdom and instead focus on two recurring themes of Prozdor this year- change and opportunity.
Like the round challah that many of you will eat on Wednesday evening, the Prozdor year is an endless cycle. For ninety years we have run classes, educated generations of teens, and served as a model for other schools and other communities that want to learn from our success. On the other hand, it’s become evident that the recipe for our delicious challah needs some new ingredients. Despite the tremendous growth of the Makor model for 6th and 7th grades, we have seen a slow erosion of our numbers in grades 8-11. Partially due to demographics, partially due to the recession, and partially due to some stagnation of our program, the contraction of our numbers has become more than a temporary dip. But with this new reality also comes a great opportunity to seize the initiative and create a Prozdor that is more relevant and responsive to today’s teens. All our efforts are focused on showing just how powerful Prozdor can be for today’s learners and how we can help connect them to a world and a global Judaism that extends far beyond the walls of Hebrew College and our partner institutions.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of our upcoming season of celebrations is community- as I wrote about a few weeks ago, Judaism is just not as rewarding or enriching when it’s celebrated without others and without a community. To that end I ask all of you to think about inviting more friends and families to join us this year (and beyond) here at Prozdor and Makor. As we create community and continue to work towards transforming Prozdor, it will be all the more powerful if we invite others to participate in this endeavor. You can start by talking about Prozdor at school or at your synagogue, and even by bringing a friend to Prozdor on Sunday, October 2.
It’s time to tell a new story about Prozdor, and there’s no better time to start than at the start of the new year. All the pieces are in place to have a banner year of teaching, learning, and programming, and we look forward to sharing that evolving story with all of our students, families, and friends over the course of the coming months.
On behalf of the entire Prozdor administration and faculty, and the Hebrew College community, please accept my wishes for a happy and healthy new year.
Shana tovah u’metukah.