Learning about and celebrating Eretz Yisrael is something we do all year round at RPRY. But these past two days have been special.
For Yom Hazikaron, the seventh grade boys did research on sixteen individuals who died al kiddush Hashem. These were both soldiers who fell defending Israel and victims of terror. In a moving ceremony led by Morah Rachel Callen and Mrs. Rebecca Bick, the entire middle school stood for a video of a minute-long Yom HaZikaron siren in the cemetery in Gush Etzion. This, along with introductory remarks from Morah Rachel and Mrs. Bick, set a serious and meaningful tone. Each seventh grade boy then took the podium to provide a glimpse into the lives of each of the kedoshim that they researched, how they died and who they left behind. They then draped an Israeli flag over a picture of their individual and stated, “yehi zichram baruch – may their memories be blessed.” The touching ceremony ended with everyone singing Acheinu, swaying arm-in-arm.
It is because of the sacrifices of those we remembered yesterday on Yom HaZikaron that we are able to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut today.
Middle school students began the day with tefilah, including a festive Hallel. The entire school then assembled outside for our annual parade around the neighborhood. We were thrilled to be joined by so many parents, grandparents and community members. At the end of the parade, we sang and danced around the cul-de-sac at the end of Edgemount, waving our flags and celebrating Medinat Yisrael.
The festivities continued inside. Students in Early Childhood and Kindergarten visited seven classrooms to participate in the following activities:
• the smells and sounds of the shuk,
• an archaeological dig,
• a 70th birthday party,
• army training,
• planting trees,
• a falafel stand, and
• a yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael.
The creativity of our wonderful teachers was evident as each child was engaged in hands on activities and learning about the Land of Israel.
Elementary and middle school students were broken up into groups, each comprised of students from all the different grades. They then had the opportunity to visit five of the following stations:
• Guess Who? with famous Zionist personalities,
• the technology of water desalinization,
• an orange juice and fruit salad stand,
• a jeopardy game about Israel,
• the history of the Israeli flag,
• army training,
• an art station,
• a puzzle game to learn about various holy sites in Israel,
• traveling Israel on a giant map on the floor, and
• a Shemitah game.
The imagination and resourcefulness of our faculty was on display in these ingenious interactive activities.
We concluded our 70th birthday bash with the entire school – 2-year-olds through 8th grade – gathering in the gym to sing Yom Huledet Sameach around cakes with 70 candles. The spirit of achdut and simcha was palpable as we expressed our hakarat hatov to Hashem for miracle of the modern State of Israel.