O\ a @ewish school

The Jewish Chronicle - - EDUCATION -

Left: Year-10 Im­manuel stu­dents in Stras­bourg. Above: in full voice in school mu­si­cal Mary Pop­pins

with the turn of a sign the au­di­ence re­turned to re­spect­ful si­lence.

The sec­ond as­pect of Im­manuel life that has re­ally im­pressed me has been the high stan­dard of the per­form­ing arts, whether the Chanukah con­certs, the open mic night, the arts fes­ti­val or pro­duc­tions of Three Sis­ters (pro­fes­sional and thought-pro­vok­ing) and Mary Pop­pins (hugely en­ter­tain­ing and dur­ing which I joined in with most of the songs). We have some re­mark­ably tal­ented stu­dents and staff to di­rect them.

The third area would be the fan­tas­tic school trips that have been or­gan­ised to Poland, Odessa, Nor­mandy, Am­s­ter­dam, Stras­bourg, Madrid, CERN and the one I joined most re­cently, Is­rael. ICIT (Im­manuel Col­lege Is­rael Tour) took place for all 92 year-nine stu­dents for three weeks. I could only af­ford to spend four days with them — the Shab­bat week­end in Jerusalem — but what a mag­nif­i­cent ex­pe­ri­ence. De­spite El Al’s at­tempts to pre­vent me get­ting there ( don’t men­tion se­cu­rity or de­lays at Lu­ton Air­port) I got to ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of the Jewish Sab­bath. Un­til that mo­ment Shab­bat had meant for me an early end to the school week on Fri­days and an ab­sence from emails for 24 hours.

But be­ing sur­rounded by the pupils and staff in the Old City, pray­ing, singing, telling stories, danc­ing and, of course, eat­ing will be some­thing that I will never for­get. This was fol­lowed by a visit to the West­ern Wall, with more cel­e­bra­tions at 10.30 in the evening, and pizza to come . It was mov­ing, emo­tional, mean­ing­ful and won­der­ful. The true feel­ing of be­ing part of the fam­ily was brought home to me in a de­light­ful way. I have dis­cov­ered more about Ju­daism, Jewish life and learning, the ethos and the com­mu­nal spirit than I ever thought pos­si­ble. I may not be Jewish, but I cer­tainly feel part of the fam­ily and I thank the chil­dren, the staff and the par­ents for mak­ing feel so at home — whether that’s in Bushey or Jerusalem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.