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Dr. Gereboff's Head Notes



This is the time of year at Wornick that we look back and remember. Remembering is often a joyful experience, especially when we sit together to pore over pictures and recall fun or inspiring times. But, remembering also plays a very significant role in shaping our identity beyond the fleeting experience of recalling a time, place, or experience. This year, there are several standout memories that represent how memory can both empower and chart a course for the future.

The first is this spring when three different Wornick moms helped teach our kindergartners about the human body: A computational biochemist introduced the children to the idea of DNA patterns. A neurologist explored human anatomy. A neuropathologist who specializes in brain aging, brought in animal brains for the students to study. A lot of learning took place over the weeks that these moms shared the classroom with our teachers. I suspect that some of the children will one day draw on these memories when making career choices or thinking about gender roles.

The eighth grade trip to Israel is a powerful memory-creator. We structure this trip to provide experiences that reveal multiple perspectives about life in Israel. This year, the bus driver for our group was an Israeli Arab. Our students spent time with him every day and visited his home as well. They met Jews from various streams of belief and practice, as well as Druze and Bedouins. They got to ask difficult questions of everyone. As our eighth graders eventually become the young leaders of our community, we know that they will be able draw on these memories to understand the complexities of life in the Middle East.

Thinking about the memories that we create in any given year at school reminds me of the centrality of “remembering” in Jewish tradition. This tradition asks us to remember events that we have not personally experienced and to promise to remember those events or people in the future (i.e. the exodus, patriarchs and matriarchs). Why? The facile answer is often “to link one generation to another.” That might be true, but why might this be important?

Memory is an impetus for shaping a better future. We can look back and look forward addressing or redressing past grievances and failings. Remembering also invokes an important dose of humility as we realize how small we are in the face of a long history. That humility is tempered by empowerment to hold up the chain of history and to carry it into a better future.

Wornick memories have been molded – some intentionally and others serendipitously. Whether a particular field trip, Kabbalat Shabbat, the seventh grade civil rights trip to the South, or a particular class - each of these memories holds lessons for the future. I expect that each of our students will use these memories to uphold the links in the chain and bring goodness and joy to the people they encounter.

Dr. G.

Posted by dizenson on Friday May, 20, 2016 at 08:46AM

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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.

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Enrollment: 188
Grades: TK-8
Average Class Size: 12
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