This week, we enjoyed a highlight of the year with our three Year 7 classes each presenting a B’nei Mitzvah Ceremony. The B’nei evening ceremonies are the culmination of a year of very hard work by the Year 7 students. They present their Roots projects, artistic representations about key aspects of their family history – these projects are on display in the Mifgash and I encourage all members of our community to pay a visit to marvel at the creativity of our students and families.
At the ceremonies, each of the electives showcases their work – from Media to Dance, from Drama to Music, and so on. Each student gives a speech about a member of their family or community who has inspired them.
They really are very special evenings. This year’s theme is Tikva, and it is timely to remind ourselves as a community of the importance of hope and optimism. On the first night, I told 7A about the origins of HaTikva, the Israeli national anthem, inspired by Naphtali Herz Imber’s poem in 1878. On the second night, I compared the optimism of HaTikva with the optimism of the founders of our school, when in 1942, at a time of war, destruction and murder, our community demonstrated optimism and tikva by starting the Bialik Hebrew School in Carlton. Tonight I will be sharing with 7C the story of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, when as a leader of the Jewish people he was faced with the destruction of the Jewish people, devised a plan to smuggle the sages to Yavneh to carry on our tradition in oral form. Not realising that in Yavneh was the spiritual and textual centre of the Jewish people, the Roman Emperor Vespasian allowed the community to continue to flourish there. This vision, optimism and strategy saved our Jewish world.
It is particularly apt that the evenings are the week before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We describe Rosh Hashanah as Hayom Harat Olam – the birthday of the world. We have many rituals around Rosh Hashanah – from the apple and honey symbolising a sweet world – to the round challot symbolising completeness. Bialik students will be each having special assemblies, as well as special lessons, dedicated to this special time of year.
Rosh Hashanah is a special time, and if you would like to be matched with a family for a Rosh Hashanah meal, or you would like to host families, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Stacey Dodge, a Bialik parent who has kindly agreed to put families in touch with each other. Stacey’s email is [email protected] .
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