Pride is self-respect. It is the confidence that comes from being so complete and comfortable as a Jew that what other people think is inconsequential.
As the director of Charlotte Jewish Day School, one of my primary goals is to create a sense of Jewish pride in the children. This can be a difficult task at times because this is not a subject that can just be taught, but is rather an understanding that becomes a part of them, a part of the fabric of each child’s soul.
Although there is no course or test for this, when I look back and reflect on the year, I realize that we have accomplished this goal.
I submit to you that Jewish pride is…
…when the CJDS fourth graders belt out their bentching (Birkat Hamazon) at Reed Gold Mine while classes from all different schools look on.
…when a first grader notices Mecklenberg Parks and Recreation Department planting trees and assumes that it must be because it is Tu B’shvat.
…when a CJDS child passes a Christmas tree in the mall and makes no comment – because there is no conflict.
…when a CJDS student leads a complete Pesach Seder in Hebrew for his family.
…when a CJDS class goes Sukkah-Hopping and connects with so many Jewish families in Charlotte who celebrate the same holiday.
…when a CJDS class brings food, toiletry items, and paper goods to the JFS pantry for other Jewish families in need.
…when the CJDS 5th graders go on their graduation trip to Camp Thunderbird, their kosher meals are taken out of their teacher’s car trunk instead of from the camp’s kitchen.
…when the 5th graders sing their school song around the Camp Thunderbird campfire.
…when a CJDS alumnus educates her current class about the Jewish Experience during a specific time of history.
… when, after seeing the movie, “The Prince of Egypt,” CJDS students are able to distinguish between fact and fiction.
…when the 4th graders vote to bentch out loud on the train ride from Raleigh back to Charlotte!
Would you not agree that our students are the ambassadors of the Jewish People?
Let us all pray that in experiencing and conveying Jewish pride, our students will play their part in tikkun olam which will bring the ultimate redemption with the coming of Moshiach.