I had the privilege of learning with the students in grade 6/7 last week, and we were discussing the beginning of the Ha Lachma Anya (This is the bread of our affliction), one of the more well-known passages in the Haggadah, in which we are instructed to:
“Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichul. Kol ditzrich yeitei v’yifsach” – “Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate”:
The essential teaching from this line is that our celebration of the holiday and the Seder is not complete if we only have friends and family around the Seder table; rather it is only properly celebrated when we include among our guests the less fortunate from the community. And I think its a fair point for all of us to consider – just how many of our Seders include those from the community with few resources, even fewer friends, or who are far away from their own families – figuratively and literally? If not, are we being what we are destined to be in those moments, are we able to acknowledge just how much we have to be thankful for if we don’t truly share it with those less fortunate?
The same applies to our school. We are a school that is blessed with so much – wonderful students, dedicated teachers, involved parents and hard-working volunteers. For over 20 years, we have been opening our doors to the children of the community and in providing a great Jewish education, helping them to grow into thoughtful, committed and fully engaged members of the Jewish and broader Canadian communities. However, as the community has changed, and as our school has grown over the years, so have the needs of the school and the needs of many of our families and students. And we are a indeed a community school, with all that that entails. We have so many different types of faces in our school, so many beautiful souls and amazing minds. We are the four children at the Seder table. We are the hungry and the needy. We are the children of the free. We all share in the responsibility to gather and learn and celebrate as a community, and to do this we need your support.
As you know, the Richmond Jewish Day School Annual Giving Campaign is underway. We ask that you all consider a gift to the school – no amount is too small. Your support (donating online is a breeze!) will allow the school to continue its strong work in three key, interrelated areas, and expand its reach:
- Providing accessible, affordable Jewish education to working parent families and families who are new arivals to Canada;
- Supporting students with special needs and learning challenges; and
- Renewed investment in educational technology to benefit all students
Most importantly, here is the goal we are setting for ourselves – we would like to get 100% of our current families to participate in the Annual Giving Campaign. Each and every one of us has been positively impacted by our school in one way or another – in supporting the campaign, our unity and shared commitment to Richmond Jewish Day School will be an inspiration to others in the community.
Have a great Pesach break, and please give generously. Chag Kasher v’Sameach!