Volume 31 Issue 3 18 Feb 2022 17 Adar I 5782

From the Principal

Andrew Watt – Principal

The value of outdoor experiences

After spending the day with our Year 7 and Year 8 campers, in the beautiful setting of the Colo River and the verdant Colo Valley, I was reluctant to return home! Our camp program provides a unique opportunity for our students to enjoy a break from the ever-present and pervasive social media, to participate in activities, group and personal reflections, and to simply enjoy nature. There was wildlife and insects in abundance, and our students learned that they could survive and thrive after a mosquito or ant bite. Their reactions to the unaccustomed noises at night also faded by the second night. Our students also learned the value of independence, as they prepared their own (group) meals, packed their own bags each day and set up their own tents. The outcomes of poor planning or slipshod work impacted them directly – another great lesson!

One of the Year 8 groups shared with me the difficulties they had faced on their canoe trip. Instead of taking the prescribed three hours upriver, this group was still bravely fighting the current after five hours in the water. “Our arms felt so heavy, but if we stopped, even for a moment, we went backwards”. “I felt I have nothing else to give, but I kept on going for another hour after that”. Sitting around the (unlit) campfire, sharing this experience, it was evident that this group had not suffered from their challenging experience. They were incredibly proud of their achievement and came to realise that they were capable of far more than they had previously believed. Operating in the challenge zone, within the safety zone but outside the comfort zone, is a big part of the outdoor camping experience. The bonding that takes place when a group eats together, struggles together, enjoys activities together and endures sleeping in tents together should not be underestimated.

Several of our students attended all or part of the camp program knowing that they would struggle with the lack of familiarity and routine, and the challenges of interacting in groups 24/7. For these students, attending camp was an act of bravery and the fact that they ‘gave it a go’ is to be commended. I am confident that the resultant confidence and resilience will have been well worth the challenges experienced.

Sad news of the passing of Tandi Rapke

Over the weekend, Tandi, mother of Elyad in Year 5 and Liel, who attends High School at Moriah, and wife of Tal, passed away after a long battle with illness. Our thoughts are with the family, for peace and strength through this difficult time. May Tandi’s memory be for a blessing.

Primary School Swimming Carnival 

Cheers of encouragement and approbation could be heard from outside the Des Renford Swimming Centre, as our Year 3 to 6 students battled it out for the Champion House Swimming Competition title. Congratulations to all those who participated and gave it their best effort regardless of place in the race. Thank you to Stuart Taylor, supported by Laura Scahill and Nicolle Rubin, for a well-run and enjoyable carnival and to Ofer Levy for his fantastic photos.

Parental guidance – Live webinar with Dr Justin Coulson

We have purchased online access for all interested parents for this event, on Wednesday 23 March at 7.00 pm. Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts, will share the science and the practice of the very best parenting style, and identify specific strategies that parents can practise, to change their family for the better. A full description of the event is recorded in this issue of Ma Nishma.

Mitzvah Meals 

Last night a group of Year K parents enjoyed a special Emanuel tradition with aprons, masks, gloves and a few rather sharp knives! Combining an informal ‘meet and greet’ event for our newer members of our special community with an opportunity to chop, slice, mix and grate made for an evening of laughter, camaraderie and new friendships. Many of you will have heard of, cooked and baked for, or received a homemade, comforting meal from the Emanuel Mitzvah Meal program.

There are many ways to give of oneself to the community – financially, emotionally and by individual or group action, amongst others. By sharing their time and expertise, this generous group of parents created mouthwatering meals for Emanuel families or staff who are ill, have been affected by illness, a death in the family or other hardship. I do hope that you never have the need for a Mitzvah Meal, but if such circumstances arise, you will know that you are in our thoughts and prayers with every morsel you and your family shares. 

Quote of the week

“I never lose. I either win or I learn” ~ Nelson Mandela

The Year 9 Be The Change students were asked to choose a quote that motivates them to create positive change in the world. Maya Hakim chose the above quote by Nelson Mandela because “it reminds you that there are obstacles in life and no way to avoid them. You can either let your faults bring you down or you can learn from them and make your change”.