Dear Hebrew Academy Families, Staff & Faculty, and Friends, Make Every Day Count Like you, I spend a lot of my day counting. I count the times of the classes in our virtual schedules. I count the time difference between here and Israel, so that I know when to call and check on my family. Who isn’t counting pantry staples such as toilet paper, pounds of chicken, or the elusive yeast on hand to bake my weekly challah? Every day we are alerted by the government of the count of virus statistics. Each day seems to blur into the next with the only constant being marking time by counting. On the Jewish calendar we are also always counting. Now we are busy counting the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, which is known as the counting of the Omer. This period was set aside to commemorate the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva, who died, of all coincidences, of a deadly plague! The disease, Ascora, affected the lungs until the students inevitably died from difficulty breathing, resulting in a daily death toll of 300 to 400. Sound familiar? Consequently, for two millennia, the Jewish people have observed a mourning period, refraining from celebrating weddings, listening to music that may lead to dancing and from having haircuts.
Lag BaOmer marks the day that the plague that killed Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 followers came to an end, and for this reason the mourning period of Sefirat HaOmer, counting the Omer, concludes on Lag BaOmer for some people. We end the counting on Shavuot, so let us hope that the same will hold true and by Shavuot, which is celebrated on May 29 this year, the pandemic will be behind us.
Today, we count on each other to strengthen one another. I encourage you to use this time to realize that every day is a gift. To continue to find value in a Jewish day school education and to envision all of the wonderful opportunities ahead for our school. No one knows when we will stop counting the days before the school building, once again, welcomes the return of our families and students. However, I do know that I can count on each and every student, teacher, faculty member, parent, grandparent, and friend of the school to make every day count. Shabbat Shalom, Yoti Golan Head of School