The Meaning of Pluralism in a Jewish High School

Introduction  For the past four years I have been in what you might call a polemic, or perhaps even a disputation, with a friend and colleague of mine, a religious leader, from Atlanta. This religious leader is fond of speaking from the pulpit about the perils of pluralism – indeed, he perceives pluralism as both… Continue reading The Meaning of Pluralism in a Jewish High School



Our vision of the role that competitive athletics can play in the lives of high school students is a deeply personal one. We—the head of school and athletic director of Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts—have been playing competitive sports since we were children, and we were blessed with opportunities to compete at both the high… Continue reading SPORTS LE-SHEM SHAMAYIM: THE SACRED MISSION OF HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS

Weekly Message 6-6-08

June 6, 2008  3 Sivan 5768    Shalom Chaverim,  There is something powerful about final exam week. Our students enter a different mode of learning that is intense and at times anxiety provoking, yet pushes them to stretch themselves as they review, recover, and discover all they have learned this year. Walking through the school… Continue reading Weekly Message 6-6-08

Weekly Message 3-28-08

28 March 2008  21 Adar 2, 5768    Shalom Chaverim,  In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, the mishkan (tabernacle) has been completed and the altar has been consecrated, and Aaron and his sons are commanded to bring the first set of sacrifices, which will atone for them and for their entire community. This is… Continue reading Weekly Message 3-28-08

Weekly Message 10-19-07

10 19 07    Shalom Chaverim.     At the beginning of this school year we discussed, as a community, the Jewish value of shemirat halashon (guarding the tongue) - the constructive, and often, destructive power of speech. For many of us, how we speak and what we say varies depending on where, why, and… Continue reading Weekly Message 10-19-07

Weekly Message 5-8-09

8 May 2009  14 Iyar 5769  Shalom Chaverim,  Last night, I received the following enthusiastic email from our Ninth Grade Dean:  “Yesterday, during our community service day, the ninth grade did the second part of a three part activity on bystander/upstander behavior. I have been consulting with Facing History and Ourselves about the activity .… Continue reading Weekly Message 5-8-09

Weekly Message 5-1-09

1 May 2009  7 Iyar 5769  Shalom Chaverim,  Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of starting my day as the visiting co-leader of the liberal minyan. What this really means is that I stood in front of the room and tried to add meaning to some of the prayers, while two musically gifted students, one… Continue reading Weekly Message 5-1-09

Weekly Message 4-29-09

24 April 2009  Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5769  Shalom Chaverim, Three events punctuated this week, each of which highlighted aspects of Gann’s educational mission and vision. On Tuesday, Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), three different Holocaust survivors came to speak to our student body. I sometimes worry whether Jewish high school students, who have heard these… Continue reading Weekly Message 4-29-09

Weekly Message 2-27-09

27 February 2009  3 Adar 5769  Shalom Chaverim,  This week we entered the Jewish month of Adar with two days of Rosh Chodesh (the festive, first days of the new month) – special tefillot (prayers), singing, funny clothes, and, everyone’s favorite, Rosh Chodesh donuts. While every Rosh Chodesh has a festive character to it, Rosh… Continue reading Weekly Message 2-27-09

Weekly Message 2-13-09

13 February 2009  19 Shevat 5769  Shalom Chaverim,  From whom and from where do we and our children learn about character, values and spirituality? Sometimes, we learn from concrete articulations of values in the form of rules, such as a handbook, a constitution, or, in this week’s Torah portion, Aseret HaDibrot (The Ten Commandments/Ten Utterances… Continue reading Weekly Message 2-13-09