Reflections, By Chaim Heller, Head of School
Every year I’ll meet with the graduating seniors after their return from Poland and Israel and hear about the incredible impact the trip has had on their Jewish soul, in a way that goes far beyond their Jewish identity.
This year we’ve begun the conversations before the trip and the conversations have often touched upon their readiness for college life and beyond. A common theme has been the desire of the students to make an impact in the world, and not only make a living. They are eager to get started.
I’ll often ask the seniors whether a lack of diversity at the school has been a challenge. Surprisingly, many of them don’t see it that way at all. They’ve pointed out that, once you get to know people, there is real socioeconomic diversity among the families. There is profound cultural diversity, Jewish and otherwise, in the class and, they have pointed out what a positive experience the international students program has been. For many, it has provided new perspectives on the world that they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Reflecting on their comments, I am proud to work in a community with a continuing commitment to socioeconomic diversity, with a third of our families receiving tuition assistance. At a time in which the social rifts caused by the widening gaps throughout the world based on income and cultures, we understand that diversity, within the context of a Jewish education, is of critical importance as we prepare our students to live lives of meaning and purpose.
Now in its seventh year, our high school international student program has had the desired effect of bringing global perspectives and cultural diversity into the classrooms and lives of our students. Thoughtful, deliberate and meaningful diversity has had a positive effect on our class of 2017 as they make their ways forward.