Westchester Day School hosted a school-wide siyum last week in recognition of Rabbi Lookstein’s nine years of service and dedication and to mark his stepping down as head of school at Westchester Day School at the end of this school year. The entire community, along with grades three through eight, completed learning Pirkei Avot, and families—especially those with younger children—also had the opportunity to perform a mitzvah as part of the siyum.
At the siyum celebration on June 8, students were able to learn Pirkei Avot with their friends and teachers in small groups, including one eighth-grade group who learned with Rabbi Lookstein himself. Once the learning was complete, ganon through second-grade students marched in a mitzvah parade, carrying banners and wearing crowns that represented the mitzvot performed in the siyum. Students danced and sang together with teachers in celebration of the siyum.
Eight-grade president Emma Shapiro gave a dvar Torah, using the third mishna in the sixth chapter, to teach a lesson about the relationship between students and teachers.
הַלּוֹמֵד מֵחֲבֵרוֹ פֶּרֶק אֶחָד אוֹ הֲלָכָה אַחַת אוֹ פָסוּק אֶחָד אוֹ דִבּוּר אֶחָד אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אוֹת אַחַת, צָּרִיךְ לִנְהוֹג בּוֹ כָבוֹד…וְאֵין כָּבוֹד אֶלָּא תוֹרָה.
One who learns from his fellow one chapter, or one halacha, or one verse, or one word, or even one letter, is obligated to treat him with honor … And honor means Torah.
Emma went on to say that the best way to honor an exiting head of school is to continue to learn Torah, which is what was demonstrated by the community and students coming together to learn Pirkei Avot.
Rabbi Lookstein will become the Associate Head of School at Ramaz in the fall.