On May 22 we held our annual “Graduation Plus” dinner. We do this at the end of each school year to recognize our graduates, madrichim, CDS Minyan Makers and committed volunteers that make these programs happen.
This year, like other years, we had some very special and committed seventh grade graduates. As I reflected on the five years I’ve known them, what they’ve accomplished at the Tree and in their communities, I realized their accomplishments are worth sharing.
In 2018 attending a religious school is most often a decision from the family. In years past, when I was growing up, it was basically “a given.” Everyone went to religious school (if not at a Jewish Day school), our buildings were packed and it was just what Jewish kids did. Our youth and families today are living in a different reality. For many of our families it is indeed “a given” that their children will attend a religious school through seventh grade. In 2018 some families choose to send their children and some do not. Our children are extremely busy and take on many interests and commitments. Jewish courses and schools can be found online and some families opt for private lessons.. In today’s world, you can have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at a local synagogue or find another way to do it on your own. 2018 looks very different than 1988.
Thinking about all of this made me realize how special our four, 7th grade graduates are indeed. All four had excellent attendance during their years at TLC. All four came to school with interest, enthusiasm, and smiles. They were respectful, and made the most during the time they were at TLC or involved in other programs at the Tree. They are a special group, all diverse, all highly engaged in activities outside of religious school, and all welcomed their time with us at TLC. I have thoroughly enjoyed being their principal, getting to know them, and watching them interact with our Tree community these past five years.
Back row from left: Alex Speck, Karen Morris, Rabbi Myers, Stephen Weiss
Front row from left: John McGlothlin, Eliana Mor, Adi Schreiber, Liam Friedlander
Liam Friedlander, a student at Colfax is also an accomplished swimmer. This year he moved up to swim with students older than him. Liam was often out of town for swim meets, yet always kept up with his TLC work, whether it was Hebrew homework from Morah Dalia or working on the end of year Israel presentation. Liam also made the commitment to be at TLC for an hour before swim practice on a Tuesdays. We always appreciated his calm nature, thoughtfulness and friendliness to all.
John McGlothlin, currently at Greenfield joined us at TLC in 5th grade, as he attended Hillel Academy beforehand. He quickly made friends and felt comfortable. He enjoys sports, especially basketball, attends EKC every summer and enjoys video games. John always kept things fun at TLC and especially enjoyed cooking and ga-ga. He often joined us on Shabbat or special programs with his parents. We enjoyed his jokes and good nature.
Eliana Mor, now studies at CAPA where she began attending two years ago. She studies production technology. I was amazed as she made her way to the Tree from the CAPA bus every Tuesday, and rarely missed a session. This year, she had perfect attendance on Sundays. We always made sure to save her some snack on Tuesdays (as she arrived after the group had gone to class). Eliana also enjoys gymnastics and karate. She’s an avid reader, and is often reading a book either on her phone, or an actual book! Eliana, with her busy schedule always made TLC a priority. We enjoyed her kindness and general good nature to all.
Adi Schreiber came to TLC every day with a smile for five years! I was always amazed. Adi attends Colfax and is very involved in sports and loves EKC where she spends her summers. She’s a runner and also plays soccer for Colfax Middle School. Adi would often arrive after a game or sports practice ready for class. Adi also engaged strongly with T’fillah (prayer) at TLC and was always my biggest cheerleader when I introduced new melodies.
We wish the best of luck to our 7th grade graduates as they move into eighth grade and then high school. They plan to continue their Jewish education at J-line. They are a very special, committed, and diverse group of students. I have faith that they will live Jewish lives, and from spending time with them, I’m hopeful for our Jewish future. I hope in the years to come they will reflect in a positive manner on their cherished experiences at Torah Lishmah Community. We are all very proud of them!