A New Beginning…

by CJCS President, Dan Shernicoff

It’s time. A new beginning. A new school year is starting. A school year that doesn’t look like any before. Not for our students in the public school system. Not for our students in private schools. And not for our students here at CJCS.

At CJCS we’ve learned from the past. We looked at the CJCS of the past spring and made changes based on what we saw and what we heard. We listened to our parents, our students, and our teachers. We made changes so that, even though this year doesn’t look like any year before it, we can be better. This year is different.

This year is different. For the first time we won’t all be gathering together on the first day of religious school to meet our kids’ teachers with them. We won’t be hugging them as they go off for that first session while we stay behind to enjoy brunch and talk about what’s ahead this year. We won’t be picking them up at the end of the day.

This year is different. This year, we will all be getting together on a Zoom call to start the year. Mr. Kiewe will do his introductions from his kitchen. Rabbi Starr will give her drash and Cantor Ben will lead us in a song or three. On Zoom. We’ll join with our classmates and our teachers and start talking about the holidays or how the summer was or do some getting to know you exercises.

This year is different. On Sundays we’ll meet up on Zoom. We’ll have our classes and learn about the holidays and what it means to be Jewish in 21st century America. We’ll learn about the Holocaust, about the waves of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe, about the ghettos and the shtetl. We’ll talk about the different types of Judaism: Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox; Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Ethiopian; diaspora and Israeli.

This year is different. We will meet one on one with our Hebrew teachers. We’ll work on learning the letters. We’ll work on learning the words and how to read them. We’ll work on the prayers that we need to know. We’ll prepare for l’dor v’dor services and for leading our prayers.

This year is different. Except in all the ways that really matter. We’ll be doing the same things as we have before, differently. We’ll be learning what we need to learn, differently. We’ll still be together, one community living, learning, and supporting each other, differently. So as much as this year might be different, we’ll still be the same people, the same community, and the same school.