Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Rosh Hashanah message from the Jewish Academy of Orlando


September 7, 2018

Alan Rusonik

Many people are familiar with the "Aleinu" prayer recited at the conclusion of each Jewish prayer service. I would even venture to say that it is one of the favorite prayers of the Jewish people because it indicates that services are coming to an end. What many people don't realize is that this ancient prayer was originally only recited as part of the High Holiday liturgy. It was so popular that the rabbis decided to incorporate it as the concluding prayer of our daily service. During Aleinu we bend our knees and bow in prayer as a symbol of our dedication and commitment to G-d. The prayer also contains the phrase "L'Taken Olam B'Malchut Shaddai" which means "to repair the world in G-d's sovereignty." From this phrase, we have derived the more familiar concept of Tikkun Olam, the call to the Jewish people to repair our broken and fractured world in partnership with the Torah's teachings. This call for universal justice has been a clarion call of the Jewish people since ancient times.

At Jewish Academy of Orlando, one of our core values is leadership. The core value reads "We empower students to become leaders and challenge them to go out and change the world through the concept of Tikkun Olam." Jewish day schools have been nurturing the leaders of our Jewish communities for decades. Around the country, graduates of Jewish day schools are the leaders of their Federations, JCCs, synagogues and other communal organizations. Studies indicate that Jewish day school graduates tend to give more Tzedakah, support Israel and are engaged in the community at a higher level than their peers who did not attend Jewish day school. The idea of Tikkun Olam is at the core of everything we teach and do at Jewish Academy. It is the message that we bless our students with each and every day. As in the Aleinu prayer, we teach our students that it is incumbent on each and every one of them to make our world a better place, to look at the world around them and say "how can I make a difference?" At Jewish Academy, we encourage our students to change the world, one good deed at a time. This is what has made Jewish Academy of Orlando a unique and special place in our community for over 40 years.

May this New Year be a year of peace and righteousness, and may we all work together to repair our broken world. L'Shana Tova Tikatevu V'Techatemu! May you be written and inscribed in the Book of Life for a year of health and wholeness! May this be a year of learning and growing for you and all of your loved ones!

Alan Rusonik,

head of school


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