Dean's Letter Chayei Sarah

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Dear Parents,

The past few months have been challenging for administrators, teachers, students, parents, and our entire community. Government and school regulations are difficult to follow, such as mask wearing at school on a regular basis. Depending on a person’s perspective, the suggested solutions will vary among parents and teachers.

The school reopening committee, in tandem with the administration, has the job of assimilating all the data, creating policies, and seeking medical and rabbinic advice. It therefore comes as no surprise that not everyone will be happy with the results. The goal all along has been to take the local mandates, understand teacher needs and the ability to protect older staff members, and understand the emotional needs of children and then to meld them all into one policy that meets the above-stated needs. As I am sure many of you realize, the committee faces numerous questions daily. I subscribe to a list serve of senior administrators who all consult daily on multiple issues. The connection with our colleagues and the ability to learn from each other’s experiences has been invaluable to me. We found that we are all facing similar challenges and there is no magic bullet. I can, however, say with certainty that all stakeholders mentioned above are doing a great job in our community even though there is still plenty of room to grow.

Parents today are truly heroes, as they are doing so much in the face of adversity. Rabbi Yissocher Frand describes challenges listed in this week’s parshah dating back to the challenges of Avrohom and Soroh.

Avrohom was told to go to the Land of Canaan and good things would happen to him. But as soon as Avrohom arrived, “there was a famine in the Land.” This was an apparent contradiction to Hashem’s promise.

Hashem told Avrohom he would have a son who would be the founder of the Jewish people. Then Hashem told Avrohom to take the son and slaughter him. This was an apparent contradiction to Hashem’s promise.

There are 3 ways that a person can handle life’s tragedies.

  1. He can suffer troubles and tragedy and then throw away religion.
  2. Alternatively, he can suffer these fates and stoically accept them all as punishment.
  3. Finally, he can see the trouble and tragedy, but even within the tragedy, he is able to see the mercy and kindness of Hashem and realize that challenges are a part of the master plan. This is the ultimate test of a human being’s faith.

That was Avrohom, but how about us? We are not on his level. Enclosed are some personal strategies to help us cope with the challenges of COVID.

  • I always like to say, “Don’t try to control something that is out of your control”
  • Share your concerns and challenges with your friends; they may have great advice you have not yet tried.
  • Asei lecha rav – Discuss your challenges and personal situation with your rav.
  • Realize that we have limitations and at times seek professional advice.

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please free to share them with me or with Mrs. Peromsik. We look forward to your ongoing partnership and support and daven for a speedy end to this COVID challenge.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman
Dean