Friends here are waiting for the post that talks about my love for the Cleveland community. Friends in Israel have been dreading this post. But it is here.
There are these moments that I want to embrace Cleveland, in general, but more specifically Fuchs Mizrachi School — where David and I are working this year. The school actually refers to itself as a community, and while we didn’t understand what that meant when we got here, we understand it now. If a barista would show up in the teacher’s room only once or twice a week and give me some great blended drink, I would truly believe that my office was in Starbucks. There is always someone in the teachers room that I genuinely like, that can offer advice, gossip with me and just make me smile. It makes me happy to go to work.
Happier still are the students. While some days they embody the mild insanity that comes along with teenage years, often they keep me entertained, humbled and proud.
Tonight, the school’s A Capella (spell check are you for real? Never thought acapella would be two words) group performed. There is something wonderfully powerful in the beauty of young people. The twelve girls (young women? women?) were all gorgeous (for real gorgeous not “just saying it” gorgeous) and they sang beautifully and they were so sincere with every word that they sang. I cried. What a zchut it is to be part of their lives as they are becoming the people that they will someday be. And the audience was packed with children and proud mothers and even prouder grandmothers and friends and teachers, and I know this is what it truly means to be part of a blossoming, committed and engaged community.
But, if I’m being honest, this was not my all time favorite performance from these girls. My favorite performance happened a number of weeks ago when the entire High School was on a weekend retreat. In one of the sessions, we looked at the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper (who knew that would be the song to span generations?). A couple of the girls came over to me after the session and told me that True Colors had been in their song roster several years ago. They promised to sing it to me. And so, after the Oneg Shabbat, they quietly pulled me over and four of the most beautiful voices gave me a gift. They gave me a front row seat to the joys of being in High School, of appreciating the moment and embracing community.
We’re still only here for one year. But what a lovely year it’s shaping up to be.
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