Principals Perspective (January 2022) - Dr. Eliana Lipsky
Dr. Eliana Lipsky

It Takes a Village

Back in October, as our students were preparing for the Lehman Day of Service, my own professional and personal CESJDS worlds were colliding. The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been on my mind since October began, when I learned on the very first October weekend that my four boys (Gurim, 1st, and 3rd grade students), would need to be quarantined due to COVID-19. The duration, unknown. We hoped it would be five days and we could chalk it up to a safety call and quickly return to the long awaited routine of consistency. Alas, one of my children turned positive - thankfully it was mild and everyone is healthy.

Quarantine was extended with the possibility of it being through the end of October. All because our children are not yet able to receive their vaccination. Even though I am vaccinated and did not need to quarantine formally, my being home for a portion of our children’s quarantine was important for our family. I am grateful to the incredible Middle School team and my colleagues who stepped in while I temporarily had to step out. Aside from the underlying anxiety of not knowing how COVID-19 would affect each of our family members, on my first day home helping my children Zoom into their classes again, I was overwhelmed by feelings I had not felt since March 13, 2020, when the pandemic lockdown began. Something I had not anticipated. Fast forward a couple of weeks. We were ecstatic when all of our children were able to return to school earlier than expected. It is very probable that my husband and I cheered louder than our children. 

At a time when our family could have felt completely alone and isolated, our village jumped into action to help. In addition to our incredible family who live nearby and already take care of us in infinite ways, the CESJDS community was there for us from beginning to end. The Sunshine Committee made certain we wanted and could receive a meal, on a day when we felt we could use it most. Friends from CESJDS immediately began reaching out to ask us what food items they could pick up for us and how many meals they could bring. In the days of online grocery shopping and express deliveries, it might be easy to underestimate this offer. Instacart is great, but kosher supermarkets are not on their list and being able to offload the shopping responsibility for even a moment was a relief. Our children’s Lower School teachers and counselors made a point of checking in with our children to make sure they knew they were not forgotten and were staying on top of their work to the best of their and their parents’ abilities. They received care packages and CESJDS neighbors shouted from their lawns to say hello when they were outside. Our eldest even had a Zoom playdate with a CESJDS family who moved out of town this summer! 

Our October experience repeated itself when the rest of our household turned up COVID positive just as we were returning from winter break. Again, the CESJDS community was there reaching out to help. The collision of my personal and professional worlds with all that was planned in school and unplanned at home, presented me with much food for thought. My family experienced firsthand the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”. We are ever grateful to and for our village.