We can be many things at this time of year.
We can be humble.
We can be introspective.
We can be reverential.
We can be forgiving.
The one thing we’re NOT supposed to be is complacent.
Complacency, that is, the uncritical satisfaction with oneself and one’s achievements, is antithetical to everything the High Holyday season is about. We are supposed to look within, consider what we’ve done and how we can do better.
The same is true on the communal level.
We (that is Toronto’s Jews) have been very fortunate to live in a community with a very robust educational ecosystem. We have day schools representing all the major denominations as well as institutions dedicated to specific educational and political philosophies.
For decades, these legacy institutions served the community, providing a first-rate Jewish and secular education that launched successive and successful generations of learners into Canadian society. Parents could sleep well at night knowing their children were being educated properly in our city’s many Jewish schools. Of all the things parents can worry about, they didn’t have to worry about this.
Don’t get me wrong. This legacy system served our community extremely well in the 20th century.
However, we’re almost 20% of the way through the 21st century.
Medicine has changed.
Finance has changed.
Engineering has changed.
Retail has changed.
The world has changed.
For the most part, our legacy institutions have not.
But why fix something that doesn’t seem to be broken? Our schools are still filled with children who are learning every day and meeting their benchmarks.
This is all true. If you were happy with your 20th-century education, then what you will find in almost every legacy school will be familiar and, for the most part, quite good – for traditional schooling.
However, one has to wonder if traditional schooling will be enough in a world where “the way we’ve always done things” is no longer the way it’s done.
This acknowledgment is the first of many bold steps we need to make as parents and caregivers, and as a community if we want to lay the foundation for the success of future generations. (And acknowledgment is also the first step of teshuvah[repentance] too! How timely!)
ADRABA is another bold step, especially in an ecosystem where many have said: Why do we need another school? The ones we have are perfectly good!
At ADRABA, we are reimagining the high school experience. It doesn’t work, look, sound, smell or feel like the high school you attended. That’s a good thing! It’s designed for this century’s learners so they will be able to confront the challenges we cannot conceive of today.
As such, ADRABA, any way you look at it, is a big challenge. But Elul is all about challenges – and overcoming them!
As Rabbi Tarfon said: The day is short, and the work is plentiful, and the labourers are indolent, and the reward is great, and the owner of the house is insistent.
In other words, pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er!