A few weeks ago I saw the San Diego Symphony perform the music from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ in full concert. It was exhilarating. The actor playing Tevye spoke to the audience before the performance about the universal appeal of this particular musical. Fiddler, he said, has had more performances than any other play in history – in Japan. In fact, the Japanese were amazed that a non-Japanese playwright could so perfectly capture their culture. What accounts for the relevance of Fiddler in so many different countries and cultures? This is best explained by Tevye at the beginning of the play.

“And how do we keep our balance?” asks Tevye. “That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!”

Tradition. Its as modern a concept as it is of times gone by. Traditions and their accompanying rituals bring order, predictability and meaning to the human experience, regardless of time zone or latitude. Celebrating birthdays with colorful candles and cakes, lighting Shabbat candles on Friday evening, being with our grandparents on Thanksgiving, giving tzeddakah to those in need, these are but a few of the traditions that bring us joy, meaning and connectedness with others.

At the Academy we have our own traditions. A few weeks ago we had our annual Shabbat SDJA, with several hundred people joining in the fun. Last week we held our annual Upper School “Homecoming Week” with school spirit, pep rallies and home games for our many teams. Our school community has a long tradition of stepping up to help others, and last week we raised close to $10,000 in a school-wide challah bake. And soon we gather for our annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day on Friday morning, October 27.

Jewish culture and values have been handed down from generation to generation through texts, teachings, and – traditions. We are blessed to have received them from those who came before us and are proud to transmit them to the next generation.

(And we hope you enjoy the links to many different Traditions.)

Shana Tova,


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