Volume 31 Issue 11 29 Apr 2022 28 Nisan 5782

From the Principal

Andrew Watt – Principal

A warm welcome back to our Emanuel School community, as we return to experience a more normal, restriction-free start to the term. Whilst we are recommencing (cautiously!) our communal events (House meetings, assemblies and Kabbalat Shabbat), we remain aware of the need to protect our immune-suppressed staff and families. Our HEPA units, CO2 monitors and well-ventilated learning spaces will provide some protection over the winter period, but we are reliant on families to keep their children at home if symptomatic and notify the School if they are a household contact, ensuring both mask wearing and daily RAHT testing. The long-awaited return of our full music and sport calendar will be welcomed with enthusiasm!

Lest we forget 

Our first two days of term included special events commemorating both the service and sacrifice of our armed forces (ANZAC Day) and commemorating the victims of the Holocaust (Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevurah – the Day of (Remembrance of) the Holocaust and the Heroism.

Our annual ANZAC Day Assembly was delivered by our History students in a respectful and reflective manner, highlighting the war experience through story telling. Both the D’var Torah and the Principal’s address maintained the ANZAC theme. The story of Reginald Walter Saunders (Uncle Reg) the first Aboriginal soldier to reach the rank of officer, was recounted. The distinguished contributions and sacrifices of our First Nations people (albeit under the shadow of their social and economic disadvantage) were recognised. It remains hard to imagine their willingness to fight and die for their country when they were not recognised as Australian citizens until 1967 and were not granted any land upon returning from the two World Wars, under the Soldier Settlement Scheme. A special thanks to our High School students who helped lead the Assembly, with Max Salamon, Year 9, playing  The Last Post, before a minute of respectful silence. 

Our annual commemoration (Tekkes) of the Holocaust took place in our Lehrer Family Multi-Purpose Hall on Thursday morning. The theme of the commemoration was ‘Choosing Life’. The event, involving students from Years 6 to Year 11, was designed and conducted by a Va’ad (committee) of Year 10 and Year 11 students, in collaboration with the Informal Jewish Life Department and Youth HEAR (Youth Holocaust Education and Remembrance). This touching and special service was delivered with both sensitivity and respect. We are very thankful for the contributions of the students and staff involved in leading both these events.

Connecting with the past 

Holocaust survivor and Emanuel School great grandparent, Yvonne Engelman OAM, shared her personal story with Emanuel School staff

As part of our Staff Development Day on Tuesday, our entire staff team spent the afternoon visiting the Sydney Jewish Museum. The timing was apt, in the light of our Yom HaShoah commemoration service only two days later. For some staff, this was their first visit to the museum and their first opportunity to hear from a Holocaust survivor – to listen to their poignant, sometimes distressing account of their experiences. Many of our staff were grateful for the time provided in their busy schedule to pause and reflect on the mindset and events that led up to the Holocaust. Never again. 

Principal Sabbatical

The Board has approved my sabbatical, which will take place for the duration of Term 3 this year. Arrangements are in place for Margaret Lowe to take on the Acting Principal role, with both our Deputy Principal (Teaching and Learning), Adam Majsay and our Director of Students (High School), Adam Ezekiel, taking on additional responsibilities. Our Primary School leadership team will remain unchanged. My wife Cath and I will be travelling in Europe before I participate in an Advanced Strategic Leadership Course at London Business Training and Consulting, in Hammersmith, London. I hope to return refreshed, rejuvenated and well prepared to develop, guide and maintain the strategic direction of our wonderful school.

Year 12 Half Yearly examinations

Our Year 12 students will soon breathe a sigh of relief (for a few days, at least), as they complete their Half Yearly examinations on Monday. I thank our Year 12 teachers who so thoroughly prepared our students.

Kol hakavod to …

Year 2 students, Alice Friedlander, Bianca Ross, Milly Greenfield and Sierra Miller, who took part in a Kids Giving Back Camp these school holidays. The students made fruit kebabs and breakfast boxes for the homeless.

Vicky Miller, Eden Grynberg and Gaija Avshalom, Year 12, represented Emanuel at the NAJEX (NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women) ANZAC Day Commemoration and Wreath Laying. The commemoration paid respects to the men, women and their families that have been impacted by war.

Aaron Berkowitz, Year 9, who was a member of the Catafalque Party at the Coogee Dawn Service on ANZAC Day and he play the tuba in the 3 Wing Air Force Cadet band as they marched through the city supporting the Royal Australian Air Force.

Quote of the week

“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human” ~ Viktor Frankl