10 June 2011
8 Sivan 5771
On Monday we marked the conclusion of the school year with our end-of-the year closing ceremony for students, faculty, and staff, a time to reflect on the year and express our gratitude to all those people who have put in such a tremendous effort to make the 2010-2011 school year a success. We continued the annual tradition of presenting all students who earned their drivers’ licenses this school year with a blessing, a charge of responsibility, and The Rabbinic Driving Manual. On behalf of the student body, our student council president Kobi Goodwin offered a special tribute to our outgoing Associate Head, Dr. Susie Tanchel, and presented a short video that our Audio Visual Club made in her honor.
Kobi also shared some thoughts and words of Torah with the student body. “I know that we are focused on the end of the school year,” he said. “But, if we look at this week’s parsha, B’ha’alotcha, in Bemidbar (Numbers) 10:15-23, we see that ‘yis’u B’nei Yisrael – B’nei Yisrael journeyed (through the wilderness).’” Although he did not mention this, I want to point out that in the short section of Bemidbar to which he alluded, the Hebrew root meaning journey, nun-samech-ayin (nasa), appears nine times in eight verses! “We, too, are on a journey,” Kobi continued, “and, although the school year is ending, our journey and our learning do not end here.”
“Abraham also journeyed, as we know, when God told him ‘lech lecha – go forth.’ During the school year, we, like Abraham, have many voices in our lives guiding and directing our journey, and we would not be where we are today if it were not for these voices.” Kobi added, “During the summer many of these voices retreat. We have more freedom and more time to do what we choose without the pressure of these outside voices. So, I want to encourage all of us to use the summer to be purely joyous but also to remember that we belong here at Gann, to remember everything we have learned this year, for Gann will still be with us even as we depart for the summer. The end of this school year simply marks another chapter in our journey through high school. Amidst the fun and joy of our summer, I also encourage us to take opportunities to ask ourselves ‘What did I learn today?’ or ‘How am I different today than I was yesterday?’”
I was moved by the depth and sincerity of our Student Council president’s message to his fellow students. In addition to offering a meaningful kavanah (intention, direction) for the summer, he summed up so much of what Gann is all about: a journey of learning and growth for all of us from one day to the next, from one year to the next.
As we conclude this school year, may we take the time over the summer to appreciate what we have learned and the ways we have grown this year. On a personal note, I want to express my extraordinary gratitude to all of you—students, parents, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and our incredibly supportive community—for the passion and energy you put into Gann and for your ongoing commitment to learning with me and to strengthening our incredible school. It is a joy to share this journey with all of you.
B’hatzlachah (good luck) on final exams and have a fun and restorative summer vacation!
Rabbi Marc Baker