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9 Nisan 5780

April 3, 2020



Dear ICJA Family:

This will be my last “daily update” for a couple of weeks.


But before I “sign off,” I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the three weeks that were and the next several weeks to come.


First of all, since we had to close our doors, over 1800 class sessions were held online! I always knew that we are an amazing school, but these last three weeks have proved it in ways I could have never imagined. The dedication, devotion, commitment, creativity, adaptability, talent, and wisdom of our teachers, students, staff, and lay leadership is overwhelming.


Secondly, we have a community like no other. While most of my waking hours are focused on our school, I have also had the privilege to be on a Federation task-force working with the chesed organizations in our Orthodox community. To say that Federation leadership is in awe of what we are doing would be an understatement. But what truly is even more impressive is the unity of our community. Everyone has come together at this time of need, and no one is concerned about anything except helping others.


And back to our school – to the classes that have taken place and the special programs we created. Last night, 40 students came together to learn in our virtual mishmar. Today, Rabbi Brand’s Haggadah workshop was terrific (as were the previous Kollel classes), and the presentation by Dr. Behlke on COVID-19 was so enlightening (


But we’re not done. Because in the coming weeks, we are organizing learning opportunities for our students, not only to carry them forward but as a “zechut” for the health and safety of our community.


I know that no school is perfect. But ours has such an excellent combination of strengths – from an outstanding professional faculty to an appreciation of history, tradition, purpose, and community. Who could ask for more?


As you head into Pesach I hope you will consider the following:


  1. There is a very touching video produced by Baruch Levine and Abie Rotenberg – two of the great songwriters of our community. If you can, listen to it. It moved me, and I am sure it will move you –


  1. PLEASE daven with added kavanah in these days – and whenever possible, daven as a family. Klal Yisrael and all of humanity need our tefillot. What better way is there than to express our faith through the words of prayer?


  1. Stay healthy and stay safe – which means not only to stay inside but also to share your concerns as a family, and if you need – reach out to our social service staff. Mr. Zbaraz and Mrs. Tsadok will be available throughout the break and beyond.


  1. And finally, remember the challenges we face are lesson in what is truly important in life. When this crisis subsides, I pray that we never forget those lessons – that we are an amazing community, but we need to work together. We need to remember the difference between wants and needs. And of course, we need to cherish our friends, families, and our communities evermore!


Have a wonderful, relaxing Pesach (and to help a bit – here is a link to a free download of new NCSY Haggadah.) But even more, have an inspiring holiday – as we relive the command of the Torah for parents to speak to their children about the wonders of G-d, and teach them the traditions we cherish!


On behalf of all of the administration, faculty, and staff, I wish you a Chag Kasher v’Sameach!


B’virkat HaTorah,


Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.

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