by Daniel R. Weiss, Head of School
Over the course of the past week there has been tremendous spirited excitement at Bornblum. On Monday our students and staff dressed in tie-dyed clothing. On Tuesday we celebrated Purim with a Megillah reading, costume contest, mishloach manot, Tzedakah giving, and a carnival. On Wednesday we dressed in outfits that represent our favorite sports teams. Tropical Thursday allowed our school to picture vacation time on the beach. And today, we are dressed in pajamas or formal wear (or a combination of the two). Throughout the week, with our celebrations and spirit, we also were reminded of the health concerns surrounding COVID-19, Novel Coronavirus.
Our Torah portion this week, Ki Tissa, reminds of the laver of copper that was used for washing in the Tabernacle. Moshe is instructed by God to “put water in it, and let Aaron and his sons wash their hands and feet from it. When they enter the Tent of Meeting they wash with water, that they may not die…” As a school, we have reminded our staff and students to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. We have placed hand sanitizer in each classroom and throughout our building. And we have regularly disinfected our school.
Our Torah portion goes on to discuss the Golden Calf and Moshe’s reaction when he came down from atop the mountain carrying the Ten Commandments. Moshe had been warned by God as to what the Jewish people were doing. He knew what he was going to see. Yet, when he came down the mountain, Moshe came “near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he became enraged; and he hurled the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.” It is hard to imagine, Moshe, the teacher and leader of the Jewish people, who had been warned about what he was about to witness would become so enraged as to throw down the written word of God.
Perhaps there is another way to look at this story. Yes, Moshe had been warned, but he still felt as though he had the support of the Jewish people. He was an older man, 80 years old, carrying two heavy, sapphire tablets down a mountain. Those tablets were not too much weight for him to carry, because he felt that he had the support of the nation holding his arms, helping him to bare the weight. When he came near the camp, however, he felt that he no longer had their support, the burden became too much for one person to hold and the tablets fell to the ground and shattered.
As our students showed spirt and excitement and extra cleanliness, our staff, leadership team and teachers began to prepare for the possibility of a school closure and a move to online learning. Our staff has been supported by our community. We know as a school that we have help and support, guidance and trust from our students, our families, our board and the entire community. We know that the decision that we have made to close our building to students this coming week, to do a deep cleaning, to move to online learning, so as to maintain the health and wellbeing of our students, staff and families, has that same support. We will make decisions about re-opening on a weekly basis. Together, we can keep our tablets, our learning, our school from shattering. Thank you for continuing to raise us up. And finally, don’t forget to wash your hands.
Wishing everyone a Shabbat of health and peace.