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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

To Our Teachers

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Some superheroes wear capes and fly through the sky. Other superheroes manage classes of anxious, excited and confused students during a worldwide pandemic. This Bisl Torah is in honor of the extraordinary people co-raising our children: our teachers, whether they’re instructing in person or via Zoom.

Perhaps your home sounds like ours: “What’s the new Zoom code?” “I can’t connect. The internet is slow.” “I can see my friend’s baby brother and he’s drawing on their walls.” “Can my virtual background be outer space?” And yet, there is the steady voice of the teacher, prompting our children, smiling, reminding them that someone cares, helping our babies understand they are not alone.

Some teachers are returning to school in person, navigating how to protect their health and teach children resilience through masks and gloves. Think about what a teacher provides: the skills to be a compassionate, giving, independent, purposeful and kind human being. Huge tasks for a normal school day. Monumental tasks when you might be concerned about your own health and the safety of your students.

Theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that, “What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but text people. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read; the text that they will never forget.”

Our children will never forget this moment. Yes, they will remember the mask-wearing and the hand washing. But more importantly, they will never forget the teachers who stood by their side, offering words of encouragement and words of growth; the educators who never took a break. Rather, the superheroes that looked at an impossible situation and found countless ways to touch our children’s hearts.

It is cliché to say that teacher appreciation day should be every day. But to our teachers, counselors, educators, administrative staff and the entirety of the school teams that we see and do not see, thank you. Our children need you. We need you.

And with the utmost sincerity, we offer our gratitude.

Shabbat shalom

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