As I reflect on this past year at Weber, I recall one of my favorite statements from the Mishna, recorded nearly 2000 years ago in the name of Hillel: Kanah Shem Tov, kanah le’atzmo: when one earns a good name, they earn it for themself.
Later Rabbis asked – what are the concrete steps that one must take to earn shem tov (a good name)? They explained that our reputation is expressed through three contributions that one makes to the world: (1) one’s personal Torah, the personal story that we share with others; (2) the Chachmah, the wisdom to apply that story in creative and productive ways; (3) one’s personal Tzedakah, a commitment to righteous action that drives us to serve causes greater than our own self-interest.
Despite the unique challenges that we all faced during 2020, the Weber School enhanced its shem tov by virtue of the way that our students, faculty, parents and lay leadership and Weber's faculty and staff, banded together to learn and grow together. As opposed to succumbing to fear and anxiety, our faculty continued on the path of innovation in curriculum and leveraged this historical time to provide students with new opportunities for service learning.
MEETING THE MISSION
The Daniel Zalik Academy faculty, with the support of Weber students and parents, designed and fabricated intubation boxes to support local medical professionals and hospitals, an initiative that demonstrates unprecedented levels of creativity, innovation, leadership, and courage. Upon returning to campus, students in the Science Research and Entrepreneurship program use human-centered design to address various, diverse societal needs.
Honors World History students created primary sources -- first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a historical topic -- for future historians, by keeping journals and blogs of this unprecedented time in history. This record of what they are doing, thinking, and hearing, created an archive for future researchers.
CREATING COMMUNAL RESOURCES
Students from the Class of 2023 assumed an ambitious project -- to create a communal commentary of the Passover Haggadah for 5780. Students researched and wrote personal commentaries on sections of the Haggadah that most interested, intrigued, and inspired them, reflecting their unique experiences and voice.
SERVING COMMUNAL NEEDS AT A CRUCIAL TIME
Working with our partner organization, Los Ninos Primero, Weber students raised funds and community awareness to support vital educational needs for children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Atlanta.
Due to the hard work and creativity of our faculty and students, and despite the obstacles faced, we are proud that Weber realized a record enrollment in the Fall of 2020.
Yet, this success would not have been possible without your valuable financial support. We thank you, the great friends of The Weber School. Your investment truly helps Weber merit its shem tov, its good name, and continue to meet its standards of educational excellence and our mission as a 21st-century Jewish high school.
With best wishes and much appreciation,
Rabbi Ed Harwitz