by Daniel R. Weiss
Daniel R. Weiss is the Head of School at Bornblum Jewish Community School in Memphis, Tennessee.
חבורה ומשפחה כך הן דומים לכפת אבנים את נוטל ממנה אבן אחת וכולה מתרועעת את נותן עליה אבן אחת וכולה עומדת
A society and a family are like a pile of stones. If you removeone stone, the pile will collapse. If you add a stone to it, it will stand (Bereshit Rabbah 100:7).
At Bornblum, we are a family! Those words are often shared by students, parents, teachers, alumni and anyone who has been a part of our school over the past 32 years. Bornblum feels like a family. The school building feels like a home.
In order to extend that sentiment, this year we unveiled a new program, generously funded by the Newburger family, called Mishpachot (Families). Our students are divided into eight different Mishpachot. Each Mishpacha has a member (or two or three) from each grade as well as two teachers. Our Mishpachot will join together each week as part of our Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday afternoons at 2:30. They will also have opportunities throughout the year to learn together, celebrate together and do community service projects.The Mishpachot program will allow our older students to become stronger leaders and role models and will lend opportunity for our younger students to know that they have a bigger friend in the school.
This past Friday, we unveiled the program to our students and families with our Mishpachot opening ceremony. Our very own Babka the Spirit Bear helped to determine which Mishpacha each student should be a part of. Students walked the red carpet and held Babka’s hand. Then through the magic of technology, Babka announced what Mishpacha each student should join. We began with our Eighth-Grade students who were then ready to excitedly greet and welcome the younger students into the family. Over the course of the year, each Mishpacha will be invited to lead our Kabbalat Shabbat.
Our Mishpachot names embody the spirit and values in our school; Mishpachat Manhigut (Leadership), Mishpachat Chochma (Wisdom), Mishpachat Chesed (Kindness), Mishpachat Kavod (Honor), Mishpachat Ometz (Courage), Mishpachat Masoret (Tradition), Mishpachat Hagshama (Achievement), Mishpachat Sakranut (Curiosity).
These values have greeted our students since our first day of school with banners in the hallway saying, for example, “Illuminate your world with Manhigut (Leadership)”. There is one banner for each family name, to encourage our students to explore the value of each trait. Our goal is not only for our students to bond with one another and become part of a group that is not simply with those in their own grade, but that the program will extend to our parents and allow them an opportunity to meet and bond with parents who have children in other grades.
Our program and the feeling that we give to our community is just another way that Bornblum Illuminates Your World with Mishpachot.