JFS School Notices 06/05/22

Dear Parent/Carer

I hope that you have had a good week and that this finds you well. Despite this having been a shorter week, the school has hosted the Israeli Defence Attaché this week alongside the Israeli Ambassador as part of Yom HaZikaron along with a number of family member of those who have lost loved ones in conflict. As always, the students have been a massive credit to you in their emotional maturity and our thoughts are with all those whose lives have been torn apart as a result of sacrifice.

In contrast, to experience Yom Ha’atzmaut and the celebration of what that sacrifice enables was a pleasure yesterday. Under the guise of needing to do lunch duty on the football pitch I avoided ruining everything that we are trying to build by dancing but the warmth and the happiness of the children was great to watch. In what students described to me as a celebration of knowing there was always a safe place to call home, the strength of feeling and pride was obvious.

It is my hope that in a similar vein JFS is increasingly becoming a place that students feel comfortable calling home. We are far from perfect but there is a growing sense of pride and one that is down to all the hard work that staff and students have put in over the course of the last year. Clearly, that positivity has also reached both the Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle with their reporting of JFS’ leap to ‘Good’ but the school has not received our OfSTED report and, especially with the degree of external scrutiny that the school has been through, nothing can be confirmed until OfSTED’s internal quality assurance is complete. That said, my hope is that within the month there will be cause to celebrate but it would be remiss of me to be premature in that celebration. Irrespective of OfSTED, there is still a long way to go and we are currently putting the building blocks in place for next year to make sure next year is as good we can make it. In this endeavour, I would just like to thank you for all of your input.

On an entirely administrative note, we will also be emailing all parents separately next week to set out our new attendance reporting procedure as we ask families to report absence through our website rather than via voicemail. We intend to start this new procedure from next Friday.

In the meantime, I hope that you have a great weekend.

Shabbat Shalom

Dr David Moody
Headteacher

D’Var Torah

Parashat Kedoshim Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27

The famous phrase, ‘V’ahavta L’orecha komocha’ (Love your neighbour as yourself), makes a guest appearance in this week’s Parasha. Rashi tells us that Rabbi Akiva calls this commandment a, “Great rule in the Torah.”

We are currently in a period between Pesach and Shavuot called the Omer. Our Rabbi’s tell us that this time frame is auspicious for character development as we build ourselves up to prepare to receive the Torah – the book that lays out our way of life. It is also a mourning period, commemorating the time that Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students who, due to a lack of respect for one another, all perished from a plague. This ties in very succinctly to this time of year. As the Torah clearly tells us, love your neighbour, care for others, be considerate to all those around you that we share our world with. It is a win-win. Ideally, Chessed (kindness) should perpetuate kindness and if only Rabbi Akiva’s students had shown this care for each other, they may have been spared their punishment.

It has been a very powerful period at JFS these past couple of weeks with the observance of Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. It was amazing to see such a sense of unity and togetherness both in sadness and shared grief through the first two significant days and then absolute unbridled joy as we celebrated Israel Independence day together. That unity and community spirit is the essence of Jewish life and underpins totally the ‘great rule in the Torah’ – Love your neighbour as yourself.

Shabbat Shalom

Mr Rinkoff
Acting Assistant Headteacher Jewish Life and Learning

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