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Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the stories of our veterans and to express our gratitude for all they have given of themselves. They are our true heroes.  

Gratitude is something that we instill in our students each day at school as we open our morning with the Pledge of Allegiance, showing our gratitude to those who make sure that we have the freedom to live in a democratic country where we are free to practice our religion. 

We then say the HaTikvah, the national anthem of Israel, where we focus on what we have and the hope for what lies ahead.

Fifth Graders created a wordcloud poster of all the things were are grateful for.

It is part of how we instill in our students an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

It doesn’t end here. As we begin our morning services each day, we sing the words:  

I am grateful to You, enduring King, because you have restored my soul to me in compassion. Great is your trustworthiness. 

Each day we wake up is a new day, full of new challenges and new opportunities. We spend our lives worried about what might become and where our decisions might lead us. Yet, each morning we begin anew to face these challenges and opportunities.

One of the more often quoted Jewish texts comes from the first Mishna in chapter 4 of Pirke Avot, Ethics of our Sages, in which we read:

Ben Zoma would say: Who is wise? One who learns from every man. As is stated (Psalms 119:99): “From all my teachers I have grown wise, for Your testimonials are my meditation.”

Our faculty at Bornblum are experts in their fields, yet they are continually learning from each other and learning from their students. They take the lessons from our history and apply them to our lives today. They participate in professional development opportunities throughout the year to continue to grow as educators.

Who is strong? One who overpowers his inclinations. As is stated (Proverbs 16:32), “Better one who is slow to anger than one with might, one who rules his spirit than the captor of a city.”

We live in a world with almost immediate access to everything. Desire is continually played our front of our eyes. We teach our students patience and conflict resolution. We teach the importance of “slow to anger”. It is an essential part of our SEL curriculum. 

Who is rich? One who is satisfied with his lot. As is stated (Psalms 128:2): “If you eat of toil of your hands, fortunate are you, and good is to you”; “fortunate are you” in this world, “and good is to you” in the World to Come. 

We build, we draw, we write, we create. We value what we have and how we come to have it. We teach our students to be happy with what they have, for it is truly good. We employ Design Thinking, where the first step is always to empathize. And only after we proceed to define, ideate and prototype, can we test our designs.

Kindergartener Sophie shows off her poster she made for the Kindergarten Food Drive.

Who is honorable? One who honors his fellows. As is stated (I Samuel 2:30): “For to those who honor me, I accord honor; those who scorn me shall be demeaned.” 

We teach our students to display respect. We teach them to give thanks to those who have helped them and honor to those who came before them. We teach our students the value of service and that with hard work, nothing is unachievable.

This week, we must reflect on what we have and be thankful for it. We must learn from those around us. We must be strong to overcome our evil desires. We must be satisfied with our lot and be fortunate to eat from the fruits of our labor. And we must give honor to our fellows.

Thank you for trusting us to impart these values to your children.