Haggada as Tefilla

I felt like I needed to frame this year’s seder differently than usual. How to celebrate geula in a way that is responsive to the reality of the pandemic? What wisdom of previous generations can we tap into? Here’s pretty much what I said to my family before we began kiddush at the first seder.  Continue reading

Graduation Speech 2019: Mountain Climbing

Below is the speech I delivered at last night’s graduation.  Annotations are in red.

Dear Graduates,

Mazal Tov, Congratulations, Felicidades. (In order to understand this speech you need to know that our senior class travelled to Guatemala last week for its senior trip. In order to understand why we travelled to Guatemala, I’ll need to write another post. Suffice it to say that the trip was extraordinary.) The past four years have been a journey that we have travelled together. I’ve sometimes felt like the dad driving, listening to the kids in the backseat say “Are we there yet?” Well, we are here now. You’ve made it and you should be very proud of yourselves. After learning to navigate the narrow pathways of our school in BRS for 2 years, you quickly learned how to travel the scenic highways of our new campus over your junior and senior years. In order to travel well, you’ve been guided by your parents, your teachers and your friends, all who together formed a GPS of sorts, a crowdsourced navigation system, much like waze.  Let’s actually talk about navigation systems like waze for a few minutes. Continue reading

Graduation Speech 2016 Annotated. Yes, 2016.

I just posted my graduation speech that I gave a couple of weeks ago and I realized that I never posted the speech from the previous year. Annotations in red. It’s not very fresh in mind, so the annotations are few:

This past weekend I had the good fortune of joining the seniors on their trip to New York. It was great. I found myself along with the seniors laughing and smiling the whole time. My highlight  was our participation in the Salute to Israel parade down 5th Avenue.  From 56th street to 72nd Street our seniors sang more loudly than the music blaring from the speakers on the floats and danced more energetically than the professional marching bands,  as the spectators cheered for us approvingly. You guys were incredible. Your  happiness, your laughter, your smiling got me thinking and I’d like to share some thoughts with you tonight about happiness. Continue reading