Words of Gratitude for the Conclusion of the Kehilla School Year

Our Kehilla School team is still reveling in the sweetness of graduation and somewhat amazed that our school year has come to an end. The summer stretches out before us and we’re already looking forward to the learning the fall will bring. But these moments of transition can also be challenging, even when they’re positive and full of growth. The only thing we know for sure is that next year will be different from the one that has come to an end. How are we to navigate these liminal, uncertain moments?

The Torah has some insight into this question. Last week’s portion is Naso, which typically shows up in the yearly reading cycle very near the holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the revelation of the Torah. Once the smoke and clouds clear, once Moses returns from the heights, these are the words we’re left with. Naso is the longest portion in the Torah, dense with disparate elements.

At the heart of this parsha are three short, poetic lines that make up the Priestly Blessing, the oldest piece of the synagogue service still in use today. Yivarecha Adonai v’yishmerecha. May the Holy One bless you and protect you.  Ya’er Adonai panav eleycha vichuneka. May the face of the divine shine on you and be gracious towards you. Yisa Adonai panav eleycha v’yasem l’cha shalom. May the Source of Life turn their face to shine on you and grant you peace.

This blessing, which we spoke aloud on May 17th, as our graduating sixth graders gathered under a tallis, shows us a way forward through moments of change.

May the Holy One bless you and protect you. As a community, we remember that we can show up for each other. That we do our best to keep each other close and safe, able to take risks and stretch.

May the face of the divine shine on you and be gracious towards you. We gather to witness the brilliance of all our young people and to help them develop their unique gifts.

May the Source of Life turn their face to shine on you and grant you peace. Through ritual, we mark moments of transition, giving each other the strength we need to step forward into whatever comes next. We share our gratitude for everyone who has contributed to making this school year a source of learning and joy for our whole community.

In particular, we would like to thank:

Everyone who sliced fruit, made popcorn, served pizza, and otherwise contributed to fueling our students so that they could learn and play.
Everyone who made our Purim Carnival a smashing success.
All our wonderful Class Chavurah Leaders, who put time and energy into developing connections within their cohorts beyond our Thursday afternoon meetings.
All our amazing TAs, who nurture and inspire our students.
To everyone else who’s behind the scenes work made school run smoothly every week.
And last but certainly not least, our teachers, without whom Kehilla School would not exist.

With gratitude,
Rabbi Gray and Natalie

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