Message from the Head of School – April 2019
The Passover Seder begins with the recitation of the Mah Nishtanah, “How different is this night from all other nights!” and goes on to list four differences, in the form of questions, that make the eve of Pesach so generous. The eating of unleavened rather than leavened bread and the changing of dishes—both of which continue throughout the festival—mean that every meal we take during the holiday will remind us of that opening declamation: How different!
Passover is a holiday that demands difference and also celebrates difference. The Haggadah notes that we were “…strangers in a land not our own,” that we were different from the people around us. But the Exodus did not end our difference. Just as the Israelites maintained their distinct identity in Egypt, when our ancestors were emancipated they continued to be different. We received the Torah, the Divine Law that makes us different from all other peoples, and settled in our own land where we would continue to live as a nation apart. In the Diaspora, Jews always maintained our own distinct practices and lifestyle, and to this day, the Jewish people continue to honour our differences in our customs, culture, and values.
The Akiva School was founded to celebrate difference; both Jewish difference itself, and the individuality and difference that inheres in every student and every individual. In each of our classes, and in all of our initiatives, such as the recent Grade 3 Literary event or the Grade 6 Art Speaks event in January, Akiva strives to enhance the diversity and differentiation that distinguish us as an educational leader in the Jewish day school world.