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Head Notes

Adam Eilath

In this week’s Torah portion, we find extensive descriptions of the clothing that was worn by the High Priest in the Tabernacle. Verses upon verses describe the color, size, and materials of the clothing, breastplate and tools that the High Priest was required to wear. In the midst of the description, we are told that the elaborate clothing is for “splendor and respect” (LeKavod VeLetiferet).

Ten years ago, a book called “The Third Teacher,” which described the ability of classroom space to impart meaning and impact learning, was widely read among educators. The book cultivated an awareness of the importance of inspiring classroom spaces and provocations to impact skill development, foster collaboration, and encourage growth mindsets.

Both last week’s Torah portion (Terumah) and this week’s Torah portion “Tetzaveh,” reinforce the same concept as “The Third Teacher.” In commanding the Israelites to invest in the physical appearance of the holiest space in the community, our ancestors were imparted with the understanding that physical beauty and order set the stage for spiritual fulfillment.

The synagogues in the North Peninsula all inspire awe and reverence. They each house clean, orderly, and beautiful sanctuaries that inspire reflection, calm, and spiritual growth. It would be completely unlike any of our synagogues to house sanctuaries that are disorderly. If we walked into a sanctuary and saw prayer books and prayer shawls thrown all over the place it would be easy to feel that the space has been compromised and that having a spiritual experience might be challenging.

The same goes for our learning spaces. They need to be orderly, awe inspiring, and the physical beauty of each space should reflect the beautiful learning we hope takes place in the classroom. A continued area of growth for our students is cleanliness and feeling responsible for the cleanliness of their physical spaces. Our administration and teachers spend a great deal of time reminding students to clean up after themselves both in the classroom but also during lunch in our outdoor areas.

At Wornick, we believe that in order for students to respect themselves, each other and our community, they have to respect their space. I ask you all to take a moment this week and remind your students to clean up after themselves at school. Students who clean up after themselves show leadership, self respect, and responsibility for others.

Just as we cannot expect to find spiritual inspiration in a chaotic synagogue, we cannot expect to find respectful and inspiring learning experiences in messy and disorganized learning spaces. Our Rabbis teach us that the Tabernacle is a metaphor for every human being. If this is the case, we need outer splendor and respect to achieve inner splendor and respect.

In partnership,
Adam Eilath

Mission Statement

Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School develops students who are socially and academically prepared to meet their full potential as engaged leaders committed to a life steeped in Jewish ethics and values.

About Wornick

Average Enrollment: 210
Grades: TK-8
Average Class Size in Elementary School: 14
Average Class Size in Middle School: 18-20
California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS)
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)