2012-2013 School Year Off to a Great Start!
Posted August 28, 2012
We’ve enjoyed a wonderful start to our school year. Tuesday morning Ms. Howard welcomed our students and faculty back to school and we met with our advisors for a few minutes to talk about the coming year. Each class block met once over the next two days, so all students are ready to hit the ground running in their courses this morning.
Our first Beit Midrash of the year introduced the Beit Midrash program as well as our Kinnus theme. Beit Midrash is a community-wide program at which our students, faculty and staff share learning, ideas, and experiences that further our community and growth. Students created a statement of our expectations of ourselves as learners in Beit Midrash to create a Culture of Respect among us. We spoke about the Biblical origins of the Hebrew word Hineni (here I am) to search for depth in its meaning. We watched a video of Caine’s Arcade (you can find this on YouTube) which tells the story of a boy who created a cardboard arcade. It was built from his excitement, creativity and found items. His one customer became such a fan, that he created a flash mob of Los Angelenos who came to play at the arcade. The 12 minute film of this story shows how individuals can take responsibility for their own creativity and choices. It shows how kindness can snowball as individual after individual chooses to make a difference. Advisors spoke with our students about the video, emphasizing the notion of Hineni as a way of making choices. When we returned to the large group our students defined Hineni for our community. We believe that Hineni is: physical and mental, can make a change in the world, sincerity and inspiration, willingness, perseverance, passion, ownership, “doing something!,” choice, supporting and support from those around us, and belief in self. This theme will continue throughout our year.
Our Kinnus was a great success. Freshmen came up to Camp Campbell with the Entering a Kehillah faculty and 9th grade advisors for team building, leadership training, and fun. Our Student Government led them in exciting and silly get-to-know-you games and helped teach our newest students many of our school traditions. Already friendships among the students were growing stronger. When the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students and the rest of our faculty arrived on Thursday, we continued our ice breakers and mixers. Our students certainly mixed up their grades and groups, and got to know one another in a relaxed environment. We had our first meal together as a whole school, and we made a point of expressing our gratitude for the blessings of this community and made the bracha (blessing) over the meal together. The afternoon was spent in team building activities run by the dynamic Camp Campbell staff and free time. Some of us spent most of our free time riding the slide at their beautiful pool. The evening highlight was a show of our Mish Mosh (improv comedy) Club, introductions to many of our faculty through skits, and a rousing rendition of the KJHS fight song. We concluded our Kinnus on Friday morning with a final program about Hineni. Students created an Identity Gallery by (anonymously) writing traits under headings such as: nationality, anthem (favorite song), level of observance, gender, nations my family is from, and more. We spoke more about our dreams and challenges. The purpose of this program was to help us learn more about one another, to continue to build trust, and (as we said at the program’s conclusion) realize that by saying Hineni!, Here I Am!, we can build the best of Kehilalh.