There are many educators in my family, and one thing I know is when we get to this time of year, teachers (and students!) are counting a different kind of Omer – the Omer of counting until school is out. That feeling is surely heightened this year because of the sheer intensity of adapting to a pandemic-driven school environment. Yet, even as this school year starts winding down, the level of commitment from our educators never wavers.
How appropriate then that this week we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week. The origins of this week date back to the 1950s, when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt lobbied for a National Teacher Appreciation Day before Congress. When National Teacher Appreciation Week as we know it now was established in the 1980s, the National Education Association (NEA) felt that the purpose of this week should be to “not only honor teachers but to show them that they help make lasting impressions on their students’ lives.” So this week, I’m dedicating this space to all our teachers and educators who work tirelessly at or with Gateways to ensure that every child is able to participate meaningfully in Jewish life and learning.
Thank you for all you do each and every day to engage our children in learning, to cultivate their curiosity and awareness of the world around them, and to foster a sense of belonging in our Jewish tradition and community.