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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shiriyah has left me virtually speechless

Those of you who have grown accustomed to my long letters will be happy to know that this week of Shiriyah has left me virtually speechless. What an extraordinarily wonderful bunch of young men and women!

Just want to briefly share an idea I mentioned to the kids yesterday at Mincha: The seniors' section of our magnificent new Shiriyah mural, if you haven't yet seen it you really must come to school and see what used to be the blank wall between the two entrances to the Beit Midrash, depicts the Mitzvah of Hakhel, the commandment to convene an assembly of all of Israel--men, women, children, even infants-- during the Sukkot festival following a Shemittah year to hear the Torah being read by the King. Why include little children who are incapable of understanding a word of what is being read? Writes the Malbim that certain experiences have such extraordinary sensory and emotional impact that just being part of the experience imprints itself on one's being in a way which far transcends mere words and concepts.

I am not, God forbid, suggesting any lack of understanding on the part of your/our children: Shiriyah was replete with insightful and inspiring Torah scholarship researched and depicted verbally and artistically by each grade. But it's the experience of Shiriyah, of being part of that dynamic atmosphere of family and community, of older kids sharing with younger kids, of students who didn't yet know one another all that well pooling talents to create visual, auditory, and spiritual beauty, of the outburst of Ruach and good feeling that explodes at the conclusion of Shiriyah, which Frisch students will carry with them long after the details of teams and themes or of subjects and syllabi have faded from memory.

The faculty, those of us who get to step back and watch and admire as our kids magically transform not only the corridors but themselves, feel privileged to play a little part in Shiriyah.

The above has left me virtually speechless.

Dr. Kalman Stein

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