Dear MJDS Friends,
THE BEGINNING: My telephone rang on a lovely day in June, 1981. It was Doris Shneidman who was very excited to invite me to teach Hebrew and Jewish Studies in the "new Jewish day school" that would open in September, 1981. I thanked her for thinking of me and refused the offer. I was already busy enough teaching Hebrew at Whitefish Bay High School and at Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun. In addition, I still had a 7th grade daughter at home, and most important, I was a licensed foreign language (Hebrew) teacher for middle and high school. Four and five year olds? No, sorry, I can't do that.
THE JOURNEY: Well, Doris convinced me that I could do this, and so I began with Doris, our principal, and with newly hired general studies teacher Kathy Wolkenstein. We three, trained and experienced educators, began to build a school. We began to create a curriculum for our 11 combined junior and senior kindergarten children whose parents wanted not only a fine general studies program, but also a quality Hebrew/Jewish Studies education. The second year of school we added a first grade class, and newly hired Sandi Morgan introduced Shabbat Sing. The word was out: MJDS was on its way to becoming an outstanding, vibrant, exciting, loving educational and spiritual home for Jewish children and their families. I loved every day of my 22 years as a teacher.....and happily, I was able to teach middle school Hebrew as the years progressed, to work as Chair of the Hebrew Department, to be the Middle School Discipline Coordinator, to mentor new teachers, and to be a forever first grade Hebrew/Jewish Studies teacher. It turned out I was pretty good with the little ones, and how could I not continue to take the Hebrew Rap and Show Biz "on the road," and to bring my husband, Russ in as Joseph wearing a colorful robe to answer the kids' questions and to interpret their dreams.
THE CONTINUATION because there is no ending: I retired from MJDS in 2003, two months after our first grandchild was born. Russ and I retired together. We immediately found several interests to pursue. However, not a school day goes by when I do not think even for a quick moment about the school that gave me more joy than I could ever have imagined or predicted. It continues to be part of my mind, heart, and soul. I am in contact with many former students and feel the strength of l'dor va dor. I am in touch with many former teachers for continual sharing of memories. I am filled with great appreciation and awe that I was able to help build a school in which Jewish children continue to thrive, grow, learn and love. To MJDS, I say Mazal Tov for the double chai. Continue to go from strength to strength.