Today was a day that your Imma (mom) and Abba (dad) looked forward to for many years. It was, to put it lightly a Shehecheyanu moment. We woke up, earlier than usual, and drove you to your first day of kindergarten at The Friedel Jewish Day School. I remember like it was yesterday arriving in Omaha in August 2011, you were 5 weeks old, and being taken on a tour of the school. Imma and I knew from the moment we got married that our children would attend Jewish Day School, but we never imagined we would be blessed to remain in Omaha and have you begin your formal Jewish studies at Friedel.
When I dropped you off this morning, watching you sit at your assigned table with students of all ages “asking if you were excited” solidified my decision to send you to Friedel. Naama, over the next few years you are going to learn a great deal, Imma and Abba will be there to guide you as will your new Friedel family.
At Friedel you will learn to read and write in Hebrew, you will learn about all the Jewish holy days that we observe at home and a whole bunch of new tunes for the prayers we do at synagogue. You will come home with tons of questions, just remember to always ask Imma first 🙂 You will make new friends and be inspired by creative and loving teachers.
Yet, here is the most important lesson, the reason I felt is so important you go to Jewish Day School was not so you grow up to be observant, not that you love Israel, give money to your local Federation or even marry a Jew. Those outcomes are out of my control, although I hope Day School and Camp, will impact those choices.
Naama, you will undoubtedly learn the names of great rabbis; Hillel and Shammai to Heschel and Soloveitchik, but more importantly you will learn about the great contributions to the world by such Jews as Salk, Einstein, Bohr and Wiesel. You will be empowered and inspired by Jewish values and teachings, you will see the world through the eyes of a 5000 year old tradition that has lit the world.
Naama, you will make your own decisions about what Judaism means to you, today Ima and Abba gave you the tools to navigate the journey.
Always know that when bumps come up along the way that Imma and Abba love you unconditionally.