“M’bebo Africa” (I am from Africa.)
Where are you from?
Mr. Diadie, our African Dance teacher, was surprised by the responses he got when he said “M’bebo Africa” in his native African tongue, Bamanakan. Among the chorus of Mirowitz students who answered “M’bebo (I’m from) America!” were a few voices in each class exclaiming their birth countries of Ethiopia, Nicaragua, China, Russia, Mexico, Israel and nearly a dozen others.
Like Diadie, people are often surprised by the diversity at Mirowitz. Fifty-four (nearly a third!) of our students are either immigrants or children of immigrants, bringing together the cultures and customs of 16 countries. Mirowitz families found their way to us from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Panama, Australia, England, China, Mexico, Canada and Israel.
And so, we are a pluralistic community in more than one way. Each family brings a unique story, perspective and experience to our Mirowitz family. We are Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. We are Jews by Choice and Jews by birth. We are Ashkenazi and Sephardi. We are South American and African and European. We sometimes fit into categories and sometimes we do not. We are nuanced and interwoven and interesting.
This month, our students have the opportunity to learn about the culture and geography of Africa with Mr. Diadie during our African Dance unit. They will learn to identify African countries on a map, to use words from African languages, and they will get the workout of a lifetime to the beat of African drums.
I am heartbroken by this morning’s news reports. Another tragedy resulting from intolerance. Here at Mirowitz, your children celebrate their own Jewish identities and are eager to learn about others’. Mr Diadie was glowing this morning when he told me, “Every time I come in this school, I feel so great!” It’s no accident. We have the privilege of raising a generation of students who will build a better future. Your incredible children lead all of us to be more accepting, embracing human beings!