Technically, the Hebrew word Shorashim means “roots”, but for me personally, the word symbolizes my most treasured professional experiences as a special educator at United Talmud Torah Elementary school in a program of the same name.
It’s hard for me to register that it’s almost 10 years ago that I worked with Audrey, Soly, Birdie (who happened to by my Mother), Tina & Karen at BJEC to help launch such an important program in the Jewish Day school system, but alas: the years have flown by.
My experiences with the 4 students in the Shorashim program (and their families) has inspired me to this day. Many of the insights and inspirations for our ideas, games, toy concepts & digital learning solutions were born from the spirit of those 4 students who enlightened my sense of self and my understanding of the human condition for the 2 years I worked at UTT.
I have so many amazing memories of those years, but I’ll share one in particular with you that still stands out to me to this day:
One of my students had a tough time controlling his behaviors (I’m putting this mildly). One day, I took him outside of the classroom and to try and talk him through and help him understand his actions. He appeared to be completely enthralled in my life lessons, giving me his undivided attention – eyes fixed directly onto mine. When I asked:
“Mark” (not his name) “do you understand what I’ve just said”. He replied
“I’m in your eyes”.
Turns out, the entire time I was speaking, he was completely mesmerized by the fact that he could see his reflection in my eyes. In fact, he truly believed he was transported into my eyes. I’ll never forget that lesson in human perception. Mark was right. To him – he was in my eyes. We all see things differently.
I certainly do thanks to Mark and Shorashim.