I am an Olympics junkie. For two weeks every two years, I spend every possible moment watching the Olympics. My favorite summer Olympic sports are gymnastics and diving, however I will also watch soccer, taekwondo, beach volleyball, archery, basketball, track & field, boating of all sorts, even weightlifting! I can’t get enough of it.
There is something about the Opening Ceremonies in particular that I find truly awe inspiring. It’s not the show-stopping performances and fireworks that do it for me; it’s something else entirely. It’s the coming together of an incredibly dedicated group of people, all from different backgrounds, all with different interests and talents, about to embark on a common journey, all with a similar goal. I love seeing the returning athletes, and the many new faces as well. I especially love the ritual and the tradition. When the Olympic torch is finally lit, we know we’re in for an exciting two weeks.
In many ways, my anticipation in the weeks leading up to the Olympics mirrors my anticipation of a new school year. Only our Opening Ceremony (of sorts) is our Faculty Orientation, where we assemble an incredibly dedicated group of people, all from different backgrounds, all with different interests and talents, about to embark on a common journey, all with a similar goal. I can’t wait to see our returning teachers – my colleagues, my friends. And there are always some new faces to welcome into this circle, as there will be this year. I especially love the traditions – the welcoming of students on the first day and seeing how much they’ve grown over the summer, the Opening Assembly and teachers meeting their new students. As I watch our students and their parents fill the seats of the Wulfe sanctuary, I know we’re going to have another great school year!
As the Olympics approach, I’m thinking about what we can learn from the Olympics that can apply to Jewish life. In other words, what values that are important to Olympic athletes are also important to us as Jews?
I invite you to share your comments and suggestions.