"Mi She'nichnas Adar, Marbim B'Simcha." "When Adar begins, joy increases"
In addition to being the first big snowfall of the year, last Friday was also Rosh Hodesh Adar - the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar. The Talmud assures us that Adar will bring happiness: “When [the month of] Adar enters, we increase our joy (Talmud Bavli Ta’anit 29a).” For me, and probably for many of you reading this, it was not a joyful start to the month. To the contrary, the last several days have been quite challenging! My family spent a total of about 60 hours without power over the last few days. It was terribly disorienting to have to modify our every action from making the first cup of coffee in the morning to finding the right medication in a dark bathroom at night, not to mention trying to work when everything depends on access to the internet. Yet, I fully recognize that we are among the lucky ones. We had food to eat, a roof over our heads, and I had my daughter’s Snuggie to keep me warm.
Somewhere in the space between hardship and comfort lies the opportunity to “increase our joy.” When I consider all that has happened over the past 12 months - all of the loss and disappointment, all of the stress and uncertainty - what stands out are the times we actively chose joy over despair.
At PJA, I have witnessed our faculty make that choice over and over again. Teachers offered up spontaneous dance parties; Middle School staff dropped “joy bombs” on their classes; our librarian continued to send books home so that students could explore the world; buddies from across the grades gathered in break-out rooms to build friendships; friends and family from around the world joined classroom celebrations; students welcomed Shabbat together over Zoom every week with songs and blessings. Perhaps the most joyful thing of all is also the most mundane: students connected with their peers and teachers every day to continue to grow and learn despite the many challenges.
It seems that all this joy has seeped out beyond our kehillah (community) as we have seen a big increase in the number of new applicants for all grades for next school year! Remember to enroll your child by March 5th to ensure their spot at PJA in the 2021-22 school year. Enrollment instructions will be emailed to current families on February 22nd.
Wishing you all a warm, safe, and happy Adar!