Welcome to Lian Swissa, our shinshin!

Dear families, We are very excited to welcome Lian Swissa, a talented and enthusiastic Israeli high school graduate, as our Israeli emissary (shinshin), to Richmond Jewish Day School. “Shinshinim” is an acronym for shnat sherut, meaning “a year of service”. This word describes a program developed by the Jewish Agency for Israel, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, whereby Israeli high
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Find your song

As each school year nears its end, I generally find myself in a pretty contemplative head space. It has been a wonderful year at Richmond Jewish Day School, on so many levels.  We are meeting our educational goals and requirements and providing a meaningful educational experience at the same time.  The school has dedicated teachers and staff, and a wonderful group of parent volunteers.  Retention
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Under the mountain

On Thursday, we had a visit to the school from an artist who had donated a number of his paintings to our school last year.  Usher Hammer, along with his wife Rose, came to see how his artwork, which focuses heavily on letters of the Alef Bet along with precise geometric shapes, was doing in its new home.  We walked through the school and into some
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The beard as billboard

Out of the 613 mitzvot and innumerable customs and traditions that shape the daily life of the traditional or more observant Jew, a number of them have to do with how we must look (i.e. dress, head wear, hair, etc.).  Wearing a kippa, for example, is supposed to mean that you stand for something greater than yourself, and a recognition that God is above.
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All who are hungry…

“Ha Lachma Anya, this is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all who are hungry come and eat.  Let all who so require come and join in the Pesach meal.  Now, we are here.  Next year, may we be in the Land of Israel.  Now, we are servants.  Next year, may we be free people.” (Hagadah
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“Kids” menus and the whole megillah

The Purim of my youth was always a non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal kind of day.  Dressing up in a costume, megillah reading at night, a Purim party, giving matanot la’evyonim (gifts to the poor), megillah reading in the morning, delivering mishloach manot (the exchanging reciprocal gifts of food and drink) all over town to friends and family, and wrapping it all up with the festive meal known as a
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Live long and prosper…

Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock of Star Trek) passed away this morning at the age of 83.  In a New York Times article today on Nimoy/Spock’s cultural impact, Nimoy’s Jewish upbringing was addressed: “His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea: He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew
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Cheering on your kids

The story goes that Michael Jordan, as a tenth grader, was cut from his high school varsity basketball team. As Jewish kids growing up in the late eighties, the story would inspire us to no end, as Jordan himself would say that “I think that not making the varsity team drove me to really work at my game, and also taught me that if
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Darkness

The weekly Torah portion of this week, Parshat Bo, and its teachings, has always stuck with me, way back since I learned it in depth in grade 8.  If I have to think about why this parsha in particular, I think partly because the name itself, Bo, offers some very simple ways for remembering what the parsha is about.  Bo is spelled Bet (ב)
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As long as the candle is burning…

I know you’re not supposed to leave your cell phone by your bed. It pings, chirps, vibrates and pulls you out of your sleep, and forces the world into your room, often at the most inopportune of times. My alarm went off early this morning, and while my cobwebbed brain was trying to wake up in the dark, I reached for my phone and
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