Over the past week I enjoyed informal and deeply meaningful conversations with our oldest learners at the 12th grade Shabbaton, and our youngest learners in Pre-K. The seniors impressed me with their solidarity—this group has been through many experiences, some quite difficult, over the years, and they show deep respect for one another. I enjoyed playing frisbee, singing, schmoozing and listening to their reflections on the GOA experience. Given that I was still getting to know them, I was surprised by how emotional I became thinking about the major transitions ahead of them as they travel to Israel, graduate GOA and head off to gap programs and college. Like Jacob leaving home they carry both anxiety and excitement for the road ahead. I am confident that they will experience many blessings and make us all proud.
I spent Tuesday morning visiting our early childhood and first grade students. I listened to them learn, sang and danced with them to Israeli music, and enjoyed snack outside in the warm sun. I was honored when our Ganon (Pre-K) teachers Suzanne Goldberg and Alexis Gruber invited me to read their class a favorite book about the importance of sharing, The Rainbow Fish. The children responded to this story with sensitivity and care, as well as with many stories about their own sharing practice. The creativity, consideration and dedication of our remarkable faculty was on full display in every room. I felt very proud to be associated with these remarkable teachers, and excited to follow the progress of GOA students from Ganon through 12th grade!