From the Principle's Desk - December 22nd, 2017

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From the Principal's Desk
 
December, 2017
 
I grew up in Somerville. My family was Jewish. My Orthodox Jewish grandmother who lived with us was the guardian of our traditions and practices. At that time, Somerville was made up of predominantly Irish Catholic and Italian Catholic families. I never really understood why my religious parents chose to live there, but as a child, I merely accepted this and didn't give it much thought. That was simply the way it was. I helped decorate Christmas trees and painted Easter eggs at friends' houses, and they had latkes, watched us light the menorah and partake in the Seder at my home.
 
In school, we were required to say the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. Being politically correct was non-existent. Did it make me uncomfortable? At times it did. I knew it was something my religion didn't say, and at some point, I simply bowed my head in respect during the Lord's Prayer. (I was allowed to do so.) However, there was something about the 23rd Psalm that I loved. I can still recite it today. I am sure I had no idea of the true meaning when I was in elementary school. I just liked the way it sounded.
 
I am sure my grandmother and parents cringed when I sang Christmas carols that were taught daily during the month of December in school. I thought they were beautiful and loved singing them, as well as our Jewish prayers and Hanukkah and Purim songs. To my family's credit, they never once asked me to stop singing carols, reciting psalms, or sharing in my friends' traditions that differed from ours. What they did by their actions was to teach me to be respectful of and understand those differences. My Orthodox grandmother and religious parents taught me there is still beauty and worth outside of our own beliefs. To become tolerant, one must learn about, not ignore, different cultures and traditions, I am grateful for that lesson, and just maybe that was the reason why my Jewish family chose to live in Somerville.
 
On behalf of the staff, regardless of what you may be or have been celebrating or observing during this holiday season, may it be full of peace, happiness, and the laughter of children.
 
Elaine Harold