On gratitude for Mandy Herlich
The great scholar Abraham Joshua Heshel once said “What we need more than anything is not
textbooks but text people. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read;
the text they will never forget.”
Mandy, if our students never opened a book (God forbid!), they could learn everything they need to know about Judaism and its middot (values) by emulating you. Your kindness and sensitivity to each child’s specific needs
allows for kids to feels supported and heard. You truly model B’tzelem Elohim-seeing each person, regardless of their age, as the image of the most sacred.
You exemplify sever panim yafot-greeting every person with a warm smile and a gentle word. Even at your most stressed, you model optimisim and belief in everyone’s ability to meet the moment with their highest selves. And you
simply do not give up-turning the problem ‘round and ‘round until you find the best path forward.
And finally, achrayut which comes from the Hebrew word "acher," meaning "other." It often gets translated as “responsibility” by there is a subtly implied. It means you place other’s needs and concerns in front of your own. You have shown yourself to be totally committed to this K’hillah-this community, supporting us with not just your command and expertise which is vast, but your ability to listen and support us at all times. We are so grateful not just for the gifts you share, but the person you are. Thank you for teaching us to be more than we ever imagined-and holding us in your hand and heart as we explore all we could be.