On Thursday morning one of our 5th grade classes gathered in my office for a moment of reflection. After months of preparation the time had finally come for them to chant from the Torah for the first time. All their classmates and parents were waiting in the library where the Torah Reading Service was going to be held. With guitar in hand I asked the students to take a deep breath and spend a moment opening their hearts. Then we talked about The Davis Academy journey-- how every day has the potential to be full of amazing and life changing experiences. But along the journey there are moments of holiness, sometimes little and sometimes big, sometimes planned and sometimes not. The 5th grade Torah Service is such a moment. Each child shared a memory from class-- lots of smiles and laughs, lots of "oh yeahs..." A few of the students got a little choked up. I did as well.
We marched quietly from my office to just outside the library. From there we watched the last few students and parents shuffling in. Once everyone was settled inside I, along with the students who were leading, marched into the library singing "Am Yisrael Hai" ("The Jewish People Lives"). In the presence of our community, gathered for the sacred and joyous mitzvah of reading and studying Torah, it was hard not to feel the most profound sense of hope that these children not only embrace Jewish tradition but will build a viable and vibrant Jewish world for future generations.