Today was my last prayer service with the children of the Hebrew day school where I have taught for the past five years.
I have grown quite attached to these kids; a mixture of innocence and uncanny understanding fascinates me and draws me to their company. Over the past years I have tried to teach not only the skills of prayer-more fluent reading, understanding the choreography of prayer, and the many hows of praying-but also the soul of prayer, to somehow create an environment in which each student will feel something special, something of gratefulness and blessing about their lives, in spite of their youth and inexperience. I am persistently dogged by the awareness that these experiences may or may not become an integral part of their lives. So, with the relief that comes at the end of a school year is the question of how much was accomplished, how much will endure and not dissolve into oblivion.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have had a congregation of children who at times were annoyingly silly and noisy, and at other times the source of remarkable insight and perception. I have admonished them for their misbehavior and have congratulated them on their successes in conducting and reciting the prayers with clarity and enthusiasm.
I have giggled with them at moments that were somewhat awkward, laughed aloud when something truly funny popped out of their mouths and experienced a primitive sadness when something went wrong in their lives or the life of the school community.
I am most grateful for the gift of being allowed to love them.
I will miss them but hope to visit and in this way rejuvenate my gratefulness for simply being with them.