I am pleased to share this d'var torah written by Kaitlyn, one of our 8th graders and delivered to the Board of Trustees at its meeting earlier this week. These words are a true testament to the impact of a KSA education.
At each Passover Seder we say ohrmn tmh tuv ukhtf unmg ,utrk ost chhj rusu rus kfc
in each and every generation a person is obligated to see himself as if he had gone out of Egypt.
Looking back at my life before I came to Schechter, the entire holiday of Passover was just a story to me. It was something that I didn’t really connect with, and didn’t celebrate more than watching The Prince of Egypt. All Passover meant to me was a quick 10 minute service, where we skipped around and read everything in English. As my years at Schechter went on, I learned more and more about the holiday, starting with learning the plagues, then continuing to learn the whole Seder, and being able to read it in English as well as Hebrew. Since then, our family Seder has progressed from a quick re-telling of the story to a traditional Seder, including English and Hebrew readings and a real Passover dinner. In 6th grade, we made the final leap by deciding that we would keep fully kosher for Passover, using different plates, cleaning the house and only eating kosher food.
Since coming to Schechter all those years ago, I have learned so much about my Jewish identity. I have learned how to keep kosher, how to carry out a real Seder and how to connect the Passover story to real life, just to name a few. In 7th grade, we wrote about the connections of slavery in 1800’s America to the Jewish slavery in Egypt. It was then that I was finally able to fully connect with my Jewish roots to Passover. I can now read the Hagada each year and see myself as someone who has been brought out of Egypt, rather than an onlooker who didn’t fully understand. Had it not been Schechter, I would be waiting for another typical week of school, rather than scrubbing my house for Passover. I would be taking out my DVD of The Prince of Egypt, preparing to complete our one holiday ritual. Instead, I am preparing to lead my family Seder, as I have done since I learned to read Hebrew. I know that without the help of our school, my Judaism would be nowhere near as important to me as it is now, and I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to connect with and learn about it.
Wishing everyone a Hag Kasher v'Sameah,
Marc Medwed, Head of School