Deans letter Emor

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Dear Parents,
Rabbi Label Lam, in an extended essay on this week’s parsha, discusses the theme raised in the beginning of Parshas Emor. Why is the double expression of “saying” and “telling” employed in the verse? Rashi explains the imperative for adults to steer their children away from coming into contact with dead bodies. Why is it uniquely applicable to this situation? Don’t all parents have a general obligation to educate? These are not the usual mitzvos for the mature, while the young ones gradually become more accustomed. We are talking about intense forms of spiritual contamination. For purity’s sake, it is necessary for the children to be kept apart from the earliest point and the parents are expected to be the bearers of that standard of holiness. This is the trickle-down effect of holiness. The Kohanim are mandated to set the highest example of holiness for the entire nation of Israel, who in turn are meant to be a “mamleches Kohanim v’goy kodosh – a kingship of Priests and a holy nation” for the whole world. From where does it start? It starts from the top! How so?
My personal “take away” from this posuk is that parents, teachers, and administrators must work together in an effort to imbue our students with the knowledge that we hold ourselves and them to a higher standard, one that meets the criteria of us being a “kingship of Priests and a holy nation” for the whole world. This can only happen if we all jointly model these behaviors and offer our children both the skills they need to maintain a strong Torah identity and the skills they need to succeed academically in a competitive and challenging society.
This past week, Rabbi and Mrs. Scheinerman and Rabbi and Mrs. Lapin attended the Torah Umesorah convention. The convention always serves as a catalyst of chizuk for the 1500 people who attend over the course of the Shabbos. The weekend was highlighted by the ability for us all to access many Gedolim from Beis Medrash Govoha, Ner Yisrael, Telshe Yeshiva, Chofetz Chaim, Staten Island, Mir, and many more.
The theme of the convention was “Attract, Retain and Inspire.” The programs featured a wide range of topics, from secular speakers to leading educators, teacher trainers, and mental health professionals from across the country. These programs largely discussed the social and emotional dynamic affecting many homes, schools, and students, challenges of modern society, and the realities of technology and the impact that it has on our children. One clear outcome shared by many was the need for parents, teachers, and schools to recognize these stressors but to also note that many great Torah leaders developed from challenging beginnings. Many of the sessions therefore focused on practical strategies to enhance classroom learning and broaden our teachers’ toolboxes for dealing with the challenges they all face. We returned from the convention invigorated and purchased CDs for teachers to listen to so that we can all access the wealth of material presented. Simultaneously, several of our teachers are taking part in various webinars and Rabbi Lapin will be attending the continuation of his Harvard University Principal training program this coming week. The school remains committed to attracting the best teachers and to offering all our teachers continued access to quality teacher training and growth initiatives.
As we continue to prepare for the upcoming school year, the administration remains open, ready, and willing to discuss any concerns and ideas you may have.
Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman