In Exodus 12:2: it says, "החודש הזה לכם ראש חודשים" which means: "This month shall be for you the beginning of the months." As you are aware, the joyous holiday of Purim is celebrated during the month of Adar, which is the official lucky and happy month for the Jewish people. It is written in Tanit 29:71: "משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה" which translates to: "As soon as Adar begins, we increase our joy!"
At The Hebrew Academy Purim is celebrated at in many ways.
· We began on Rosh Chodesh Adar, Wednesday, 2/26, with Topsy Turvy Day. We celebrated this joyous day by inviting students, staff, and faculty to dress in crazy hats, wigs, clothing inside out, and other Topsy Turvy get-ups. The teachers switched classes for ½ hour and read books, sang songs, and played games. The Student Council members switched places with some of the office staff. The highlight of the day was the teacher pie-in-the face raffle. Everyone got into the spirit of the day!
· Erev Shabbat lunch on 2/28 will feature our breakfast for lunch menu.
· On Monday, 3/2, our 6th graders will make hamantashen, the traditional three corner filled pastry, with the residents of Sunrise Assisted Living while the 3rd graders will visit the SOS seniors at Chabad House.
· Our popular Q.T. or Quality Time parent/child hamantashen baking is after school on Wednesday, 3/4.
· Join us on Friday, 3/6 for the highly anticipated Hebrew Academy Purim Carnival featuring exciting carnival games, delicious food, crafts, and more!
· On Tuesday, 3/10, our 6th grade will entertain the residents at Mattison Crossing with a Purim “Shpiel”, (the Yiddish word for play).
All of these activities remind me of how lucky we are to be part of a school, which celebrates our Jewish heritage every day. Celebrations, such as Purim, bring our student’s studies to life and our community together. We are not merely teaching about the customs, traditions, and history of our past, but in fact, we are living and experiencing them.
At The Hebrew Academy, our program emphasizes academic excellence and enrichment in both general and Judaic studies. What is unique to our school is the time we devote to allowing the students to experience, hands-on learning.
Whether it is at the Purim festivities, or trips to the theater, museums, aquariums, the Statue of Liberty, or the beach, tasting the seven species on Tu Bi’shvat, learning to bake matzah, or cook shakshuka, celebrating Sukkot at Hershey Park, jumping for heart, or feasting on traditional Thanksgiving food, our students are learning to balance school work with learning by doing.
Hands-on education gives students both the freedom and responsibility to learn through real experience, rather than through simply reading or listening to somebody else. Hands-on learning is nothing new. In fact, as early as 350 BCE Aristotle wrote, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” What has changed is how we incorporate hands-on activities into training.
One more thing….another tradition at The Hebrew Academy is to participate in the P.T.O. Mishloach Manot Program. As is quoted in the Megillah, "Mordechai. . . enjoined the [Jews] to make the fourteenth day of the month of Adar . . . feasting and joy, and sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor (mishloach manot)." I encourage all of our families and friends to fulfill the mitzvah of mishloach manot through our P.T.O.
At The Hebrew Academy, we are given the privilege to celebrate your children every day. It is your daily commitment to Jewish education, Jewish continuity, and Jewish values that doubles our joy every month.
Head of School