Wednesday, Sept. 1, on our first day of school, we summoned our JCDS students to listen carefully to the sound of the shofar. Children of all ages joined together in absorbing the blast that echoed first in their classrooms and then outside on the blacktop.

Traditionally, after hearing each hallowed call to awareness and awe, we stand and say together, “Hayom Harat Olam.” Today the world is born.” As educators, year after year, this idea permeates the hallways and suffuses our classrooms as we watch with excitement as the worlds of possibility, creativity and individuality unfold from and manifest in each of our students. In essence, the first day of school feels like the world is being born time and time again. As I peer out at our tapestry of students, each of whom come with their unique stories, passions and curiosities, I am reminded of Hasidic master Sefat Emet’s teaching that each person is called “a small world” since all the world is contained within each of us.

This is the beauty of JCDS and this is why I believe the work we do here is truly sacred. To work here is to believe that each person is an olam katan, a small universe that is truly waiting to be discovered through lessons that nurture the hearts and the souls of each child. It is our job to tap into what is uniquely precious and kindle the flame of self-discovery in each of our students.

I wish you and your family a shana tova u’metuka! A happy, healthy and sweet new year!

Shira Deener is head of school at JCDS.

The School Sparks blog appears periodically by various writers among the JCDS educational team. Learn more about JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.

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