Celebrating a milestone in the Emanuel journey
The first of our events to celebrate Emanuel School’s 40th Anniversary took place on Tuesday, at our Years 3-12 Celebration Assembly. Rabbi Kamins delivered a special d’var torah, in which he drew parallels with the 40 years in the wilderness experienced by the Jewish people, poised to begin a new phase, with greater wisdom and understanding. We were encouraged to stay true to the values of our School founders, to remain a warm, inclusive and egalitarian community. Our Head of Jewish Life, Adina Roth, gave a blessing of the School, under a tallit, followed by a special cake cutting ceremony.
Our staff and students learned about our School’s journey, which began in 1983 with 53 students in Years K-6, housed at its temporary home of Temple Emanuel Woollahra. We did not move into our campus until 1985. The School had already grown, with almost 230 students from Years K-8. The grounds, which had been owned by The Little Sisters of the Poor, needed quite some work to transform the landscape into a suitable place to learn and play. Today, almost 920 students walk through the Waxman Gates every day!
As the years have passed, Emanuel has grown, become more established, better known and well respected. If Rabbi Brian Fox and the other founders and visionaries of Emanuel School could take a tour of our School today, and look into our classrooms, halls, theatres and playgrounds, they would be very proud. Their vision of a warm and inclusive community of learners, strongly connected to both its Judaism and to Israel has come to life. Ted Waxman, the first President of our School Board and one of our dedicated Founders wrote the following at the opening of the Lehrer Family Building (MPH) in 1996:
“What we have accomplished will be appreciated by each and every student for years to come. It will make a tremendous contribution to their happiness, their future academic and physical development, to the enhancement of their love and practice of Judaism, as well as their desire to be good citizens of Australia and our community.”
If only Mr Waxman knew that, almost 30 years later, we would be sitting in that very building and that his words would ring so true. Our students were encouraged to imagine, in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time, the then Board President saying very similar words about our new B’Yachad Building that we will open this year.
We have much to be thankful for – and today’s assembly was all about looking back to our humble beginnings with gratitude and looking forward to our bright future in anticipation of great times ahead!
We are very thankful for the generosity of our donors, at each stage of our Emanuel School journey. Through their support, we now enjoy a beautiful campus, with purpose-built learning and play spaces. Perhaps most importantly, we have a wonderful team of professional, diligent and caring staff.