Finding Comfort in Our Story

by Adrienne Rosen – Director of Gan Shalom Nursery School

Young children take their comfort and security very seriously. A perfect moment in the day to observe this is at morning drop-off.  We see the importance of comfort in the favorite shirts they must (re)wear each day and in the special wave goodbye of a beloved grown-up. We see it in the objects they carry each morning from home to Gan Shalom; their stuffed dog, their mom’s hair tie, a favorite book.  Once the children settle into school, one of the most familiar and comforting areas of the classroom is the reading corner.

Our teachers are accustomed to reading the same stories again and again.  The books are children’s touchstones to the familiar, provide a moment to recharge, and an opportunity to connect with their friends who delight in the reading of the very same book.  We, in turn, foster relationships between our learners when they discover the shared joy of reading the same story with friends.

On October 12th, Gan Shalom had a special visitor; soferet Jill Kaplan.  She brought her tools, skills, and enthusiasm to teach our children the process of writing, repairing, and preserving the Torah for generations to come.  The children touched the turkey feather quill, saw the Hebrew letters on our recently repaired sefer Torah, and then returned to their classrooms to do their own explorations with feathers, q-tips, paper, and paint.  Our learners connected to our story as a Jewish people and extended that exploration in their most comfortable space.

Like our young learners, we too gravitate towards the familiar for comfort and security.  We revisit our stories through the Jewish holidays and familiar the Torah portions which, while the world changes suddenly around us, stay the same.  The lessons we take from these familiar stories evolve as we do.  In these challenging times, I take comfort in the beginning and ending letters of the Torah the soferet wrote for us as a school.  The first letter of the Torah is bet, ב and the letter that ends the Torah is lamed, לֵOn Simhat Torah, there is no break between finishing the final word of the Torah and beginning our story again.  As a result, the last and first letters of the Torah form the Hebrew word lev,לֵבmeaning heart in English.  At Gan Shalom and RSNS, may we lead with our hearts, and find comfort in connection with the community and in our shared story.

Adrienne Rosen