If you visit our Ulam K’lalee (all-purpose room) and look across from the Aron Kodesh (Ark that holds our Torah scrolls), you’ll see a work of art hanging above the clock. The wall hanging measures 8X4 feet and was crafted by the hands of Jewish day school children at Columbus Jewish Day School.
It was offered to us as a gift in the days after October 27, when we in Squirrel Hill were still numb from shock and were not yet awake to the novel idea that the world was hurting for us.
We do have a special connection with JCDS. A few, actually. We have visited each other’s schools and we also share a Bubbie. Adam Baron’s mother teaches kindergarten there, and she is beloved Bubbie to our own Brett (2nd Grade).
As it happened, the Barons were going to be visiting Columbus, and so Adam and Brett quickly became honored guests at the JCDS Kabbalat Shabbat. The tapestry was presented to them, and they delivered it to us with no shipping charges and a lot of love!
Once it was hung in our space, Brett and CDS Institutional Advancement Director Jenny Jones delivered cards to every classroom in our building, with a picture of the wall hanging (so kids can see the detailed work) and signatures from the kids at CJDS on the inside. The artwork depicts a colorful world of children at play, in joyful harmony, surrounded by rainbows and swings. It is a strong reminder of how the world could be. How it should be. How we need to make it be.
As we head into winter break and a much needed rest, I will be reflecting on this wall hanging, and on all the caring that has come our way in the past six weeks. It will always remind me of the power of a gesture. A kind word. A note. A picture drawn in the hope of conveying comfort.
When we look around the world and even in our own neighborhoods, we feel the overwhelming sense that there is not enough money or time or wisdom in the world to fix this problem or that one. That is true, and it is not likely to change. But what these past six weeks have taught me is that we have the power to communicate caring―and that is not insignificant. The most remarkable thing about the response to our Squirrel Hill tragedy is that we found out that people stood with us. People from unexpected places. People from different neighborhoods, cities, states, countries. People of different religions, races, backgrounds.
It feels that with these very simple works of art and words of heart we have received this very powerful message from the world that we are loved and we matter. With every word of comfort we receive, I feel the imperative to pay it forward to someone who is not expecting to have comfort come from me.
-- Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M., Head of School