Rabbi Eric Grossman

As the last day of school approaches, I want to thank the entire community for making my first year at Akiva such a wonderful experience.  At Grade 6 Graduation last night I spoke of Rabbi Hartman’s book, A Heart of Many Rooms. Rabbi Hartman took the title of his book from a quote from the ancient rabbinic work, the Tosefta.  The Tosefta explains that we should make our heart into a heart of many rooms, always creating additional space for new ideas and new people in our lives.  I am grateful that the Akiva community has created a new room in its heart for my family and me; for my part, I have added hundreds of new rooms to my heart for all of our student and parents–I think of it as a new wing!

Cover of Rabbi Hartman’s Book, A Heart of Many Rooms

In the modern era, we speak of the heart as the seat of the emotions; we represent love with the symbol of the heart, and talk of heartbreak or a heart swelling with affection.  In the ancient world, the heart was considered the seat of both the emotions and the intellect – the way we think of the mind or the brain.  When the Tosefta refers to a heart of many rooms, it is thinking of opening up new compartments in both our emotional and our intellectual selves.  At Akiva, we seek to nurture both the thinking and the feeling part of every child, opening new vistas of thought and emotion.  The success of each year is measured by how much our children have progressed both academically and socially.  We have seen such remarkable growth in the last ten months in all of your children, and we share in your pride in how far they have come in such a short period of time.

On behalf of the Akiva school, I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing summer.