GDS Celebrations: Something to Hold Onto

I like the holidays. I always have. Like most people, my memories of them are hardly Hallmark. Families didn’t always get along; the potatoes could be lumpy; if you disappeared for hours, no one seemed to notice. But all in all, there’s always been something appealing to me about the holidays.

Holidays, especially those that open up the world to the possibilities of the miraculous, seem made for kids. Kids want to believe: that they are loveable, that wishes come true, that if they concentrate hard enough they probably can turn purple. To this day, I will swear that my brother and I saw Santa’s wooden sleigh on our front lawn very early one Christmas morning.

I like that GDS celebrates the holidays. It can be a little corny when the locusts and angels, not to mention the Morris Dancers, materialize, as they do, year in and year out. But then something happens that reminds us why we celebrate them. It could be that kid whose solo breaks free of the choir and makes you feel her longing for peace or the boy who wears his tallit while singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

The spring gives us another round of celebrations and opportunities for learning, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and unfulfilled dream of equality, of Passover and its universal cry for freedom, and Pride Week, when we honor all our beautifully diverse GDS families, focusing especially on our support and inclusion of the LGBTQ members of our community and beyond.

As we look to GDS being on a single campus, we are exploring the ways in which the universal themes and messages of our celebrations—and the celebrations themselves—can be used to deepen the ties among staff and students across the grades. In a world which can seem chaotic, we can crave something sturdy to hold onto. GDS and its celebrations are a pretty sure bet.

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