I have been delighted to return to JCoSS after my 9 months of maternity leave, to what can only be described as a celebration of Judaism.
This term in Year 7 the students are learning about the Responsibilities of Parents to Children according to the Talmud (Oral Law)in Masechet Kiddushin 29b. Amongst other things these obligations include: ‘to teach your children’. This obligation is found in the text of the Shema: ‘and you shall teach them diligently to your children’. (Devarim 6:7) ‘What do you think your parents should teach you?’ we have asked each of the students. The responses have been inspirational: to read and write; to be good people; to be a mensch; to make the world a better place; to love respect ourselves and each other; to love Jewish tradition.
This unit will culminate in the research and creation of the Year 7 Family History project. In previous years this piece of work has been a highlight of the year, and has at times brought tears to the eyes of the teachers assessing them. Your children will be interviewing and photographing you; their grandparents, and great grandparents. We look forward to reading about where your families originated and what brought you to this country, and how your Jewish identities have developed. This large scale project is a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to collaborate on a piece of work.
Our Year 8’s have started their study of the History of the Jewish People and our Year 9’s have been grappling with the dilemmas of Leadership. One of the most challenging dilemmas of all time for Jewish Leadership has been the role of the Judenrat during the Nazi Holocaust. The Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Loving Kindness) project for the Year 12 is well under way, with volunteering taking place at various venues around North London.
Next time you visit JCoSS, do look out for the new art work in the Canteen: a beautiful display of the Seven Species of Israel based on the verse: ‘For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, springing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey. (Devarim 8:7-8)
We will also be launching a school wide Mosiac project this term in which each student will have an opportunity to participate. The Romanesque mosaic will fill the imposing back wall of the Heartspace and will represent Judaism through the ages and the unique identity that is JCoSS.
I’m delighted to be back at school, and am thankful to Mr Rosenberg once more for his sensitive and inspirational direction of the Jewish Education Department. I look forward to seeing you all soon; please feel free to pop into my office to say hello.
Mrs E Robinson
Assistant Head, Director Jewish Education