Sep 12

Opening Day!!

Love At First Sight

Bruchim Habaim (“Welcome”) to the first blog post of the school year for the Jewish Enrichment Center! My name is Shifra Whiteman and I am the Yetzirah(creativity) specialist. This morning was quite an eventful one for everyone. I myself had quite an adventure on the commute to Hyde Park. I was supposed to arrive at the center around 8 am to meet and prep with the other staff members, however, in the midst of rerouted buses due to the half marathon on Lake Shore Drive, I ended up on an unexpected tour of south Chicago. The entire time I was “lost” I kept thinking about whether or not I would make it to the Jewish Enrichment Center by the latest 9 am.

Nitzanim Room Detail (K – 2nd)

We, the staff, have been working so hard these last few weeks and have grown more and more excited about finally meeting all the children, that I became nervous I might actually miss it. Thankfully, I managed to get back to the Hyde Park area and as soon as I got off the bus, I ran (in the opposite direction of the half marathon) towards the center.

The time on my watch was 9 am sharp and luckily, I didn’t miss anything! As shorashimers and nitzanimers came up the stairs, I was so thrilled to be able to welcome them with a “Boker Tov” (“Good Morning”) and introduce myself. I floated between Beit Shorashim (Nursery 3 and Pre-K) and Beit Nitzanim (K – 2nd grade) throughout the morning, learning everyone’s names, photographing them for their Ani Po/Ani Lo Posign-in pictures and getting to know them a little bit.

A Quiet Moment

I was amazed at how quickly friendships were formed and how nicely the children played, explored and worked together. It felt as if time flew by because the next thing I knew, we were all in Chadar Kehillah (Community Room), where we sat with Shorashim, Nitzanim, the morim (teachers) and parents, and began singing shira/tefillah. Some children knew the words and some knew the hand motions but everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces. While I was looking around at all the children in that ma’agal (circle) I had a great sense of joy and happiness about the community we are creating. A community that is open to all forms of Judaism, learning and of course, fun! On my less stressful commute home, I found myself excited about what tomorrow and Tuesday will bring.

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