This March, thousands of teachers and students had to pack their belongings with little or no advanced warning and little or no time to gather all of the “essential” items that typically facilitate teaching and learning in our schools. For the dedicated faculty and staff of The Davis Academy, the rush felt eerily reminiscent of what our ancestors must have experienced as they hurriedly packed their bags to flee Egypt. The bread, either literally or figuratively, had no time to rise.
Like the Israelites, teachers and students have found ourselves in a kind of wilderness. On the one hand, the wilderness is a scary place, full of threats, obstacles, and the unknown. On the other hand, the wilderness is a place of insight and revelation. Just as our ancestors met God and received the Torah in the wilderness, so too has The Davis Academy community experienced a kind of revelation and encounter with God.
For The Davis Academy, the wilderness of distance learning has revealed to us the extraordinary character of our teachers. It has revealed to us their love, devotion, creativity and professionalism. It has revealed to us the resilience of our students, the covenantal partnership of our parents, and the deeply embedded menschlichkeit at the heart of our community. It has reminded us of the unshakeable strength of our community, the values that we share, and the love that unites us. In reminding us and revealing to us these profound truths, this time of social distancing has helped us all feel the closeness of God’s presence in new and nourishing ways.
Rabbi Micah Lapidus is director of Jewish and Hebrew studies and school rabbi at The Davis Academy.