HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

A Word from the Editor

by Dr. Barbara Davis Issue: Diversity

A famous Mishnah states, “When a human being makes many coins from the same mint, they are all the same. G-d makes everyone in the same image – His image – yet none is the same as another.” (Sanhedrin 4:5)

This issue of HaYidion examines the subject of diversity as it applies to the Jewish community day school. The ever-increasing heterogeneity of our schools poses both challenges and opportunities for day school leaders. The articles that appear in this issue are designed to provide both theoretical and pragmatic frameworks within which community day school leaders can approach the range of questions that arise from the growing diversity within our school populations.

Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, wrote a commentary on Parshat Ha’azinu in which the Torah is compared to rain. Rabbi Sacks notes that this comparison is made “precisely to emphasize that its most important effect is to make each of us grow into what we could become. We are not all the same, nor does Torah seek uniformity…The miracle of creation is that unity in heaven produces diversity on Earth. Torah is the rain that feeds this diversity, allowing each of us to become what only we can be.”

We hope that this issue of HaYidion will help you to become what only you can be. Whether your school is large or small, urban or suburban, one of many or isolated, you are still part of the RAVSAK community. After two decades of association with RAVSAK, I am still amazed by how alike and yet how different we all are. Thus, the contributors to this fall’s HaYidion seem to relate completely to many of the critical issues I face, while at the same time offering unique and original perspectives and solutions that will prove invaluable to me and, I truly believe, to you also. ♦

Dr. Barbara Davis is the Secretary of RAVSAK, Editor of HaYidion and Head of School at the Syracuse Hebrew Day School in Dewitt, NY. Barbara can be reached at shds@twcny.rr.com.

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Diversity in day schools usually goes well beyond the denominational spectrum that falls under the rubric of pluralism. It includes socioeconomic disparities, gender and sexuality, color and ethnicity, and other differences of religious practice and customs. In this issue, authors recommend ways for day schools to become sensitive to a range of diversity, to welcome all students and teachers and find ways for them to validate these identities within the school community.

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