1) Our final Jewish music meeting of the year. Working with two remarkably capable and passionate people who have a high level of respect and commitment coupled with a sense of humor and ability to embrace the fact that our shared area of concern is a work in progress.
2) The 5th grade class that ended up taking place in our outdoor sanctuary because the classroom was too hot and humid. Though it was actually warmer outside, the outdoor sanctuary proved to be a much more evocative space for our end of year reflection.
3) Noticing the beautiful interplay between the stones on the pathways in the outdoor sanctuary, purposefully selected and placed by human hands, with the fallen pine needles. The interplay between human made and naturally occurring. Our desire to construct our environment made more beautiful by the fact that our environment will be what it will be.
4) Saying, repeatedly, that our recent Israel trip was as if “guided by angels” and truly meaning it. Wondering how the experience itself could so profoundly outshine the countless hours spent planning and preparing for it.
5) The heavy silence at our 2011 senior sendoff when we paused to remember Jesse Fryer, a member of the class, who took his own life. Knowing that we don’t choose what lessons life will teach us or when we will learn them.
6) Reflecting with colleagues on what kind of teacher we want to teach Middle School Judaics. Understanding the implications of the fact that, at least to a point, content can be taught.
7) Watching 2nd graders delight in the “shuk” that their teachers created as part of an Israel unit. Kids pouring over kippot, admiring Judaica, and rummaging through Hebrew language T-shirts.
8) Joining with 5, 10, and 15 year colleagues at The Davis Academy for dinner. Understanding that the people around the table represent something “more precious than rubies” for the Jewish people.
9) Listening to stories of days gone by, colleagues that have moved on, and a world that in many ways ceases to exist.
10) Deciding that having a t’fila service at the Holocaust Memorial in Charleston, SC is likely a more meaningful Jewish experience than visiting the historic Reform synagogue there for a tour. The difference between living Judaism and museum Judaism.