It was a true blessing to see the faces of our students on the first day of school. We had a fantastic day filled with energy and excitement. While we couldn’t have our traditional communal opening, we managed to come together as a school.
I began by showing everyone how I could sing without singing! I pre-recorded my voice singing and then had it coming out of speakers at my hips. I was able to accompany my voice live on the guitar, and with a mask on, it was hard to even tell I was NOT singing (see this test video)! I proceeded to travel through the school “singing” and exchanging energy and ruach with all the classes. It was thrilling to be connected as a school community, even in this odd and distanced fashion.
It was certainly a different year, and never has the Shehechiyanu blessing, recognizing and sanctifying the moment in time, seemed more appropriate. As I told the students, many things have changed, but many are staying the same: loving teachers who help us grow, caring friends who make us smile and laugh, and countless opportunities for learning that light us up!
I began with gan nitzan (kindergarten) and finished with eighth grade. Finally, we looked to the Jewish calendar and the month of Elul for inspiration and a “call back” to JCDS and our intentions for the year. Meg Lederman blew the (masked) shofar outside and we listened to its call. What a way to start the year!
Oren Kaunfer is madrich ruchani (spiritual educator) at JCDS.

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