Graduates, The extraordinary maturity that you have exhibited this morning speaks volumes. Over and over, we heard each of you reflect on your childhood at Mirowitz, on the values you’ve learned and on the memories that you reflect upon as having shaped you.
I have to take a moment to remind myself that you are 14 year-olds who are in the midst of experiencing the coronavirus pandemic…the greatest disaster in our lifetimes. 375,000 deaths world wide – a stay at home order for your final 9 weeks of 8th grade, a canceled Israel trip, and a virtual graduation. You ended your day school experience with a series of disappointments that would lead even a grown adult to perseverate.
And yet – You did something quite remarkable. You rose above the here and now, and showed that you have perspective. You understand that the ending does not diminish the blessing of your Mirowitz childhood. In fact, you have displayed for everyone watching today, the kind of people you are. And WHO you are is what matters.
This morning is not just a virtual graduation. It is a graduation for people of virtue… people who demonstrate moral excellence. Alyssa, Dani, Mollie, Omri, Zach, Jacob, Nomi, Naomi, Yeshara, Eli and Mia…we know that the future is in excellent hands with you leading the way. I stand with every member of the Mirowitz faculty and staff, with every board member past and present, with every member of the St. Louis Jewish community when I say that we are proud of you. Deeply, genuinely and sincerely proud.
The years ahead of you will surely present other moments of discomfort, struggle and even challenge to your morals. Remember to be leaders. Remember that Judaism expects you to be thoughtful about every choice you make, to be grateful for the gifts you’ve been given and to be unwavering in your pursuit of what is right. Remember that you have the power to make an impact…and that our sacred responsibility is to use that power to improve the world.
I offer you this blessing from the book of Jeremiah 17:8. May you be like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green. It is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
To the parents of the graduates, the investment you made in your children will pay off for many years. Thank you for allowing us to be your partners in raising your children.
The faculty and staff of Mirowitz have dedicated our lives to raising a generation of young leaders who will be people of virtue, grounded in Judaism and living lives of moral excellence. So much gratitude goes to all of the teachers who contributed to these graduates’ growth over the years.
Graduates – as we celebrate all that you have achieved and the people of virtue you have become…I share these beautiful words from Isaiah 55:
May you go out with joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Mazal tov Ub’hatzlacha.