June 14, 2024
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June 14, 2024
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Reflections on Schechter of Bergen County’s 50 Anniversary Jubilee

As we examine Parshat Behar, we uncover profound insights that resonate deeply with the significance of Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County’s 50th anniversary. Behar introduces the concept of the jubilee year, occurring every 50th year, symbolizing a period of reset, restoration and renewal. Similarly, our school’s milestone anniversary serves as a jubilee of sorts, inviting us to reflect on our journey, honor our roots and rededicate ourselves to the values and mission that have guided us for half a century.

The opening verses of Behar command us to observe the sabbatical year, a period of rest for the land. Just as the land is to lie fallow every seventh year, our minds too require periods of rest and reflection. This is where the importance of Jewish education becomes apparent. Jewish education is not confined to the walls of a classroom; it encompasses a lifelong journey of learning and religious and spiritual growth. Just as the land must be nurtured and tended to yield a successful harvest, our minds and souls require nurturing through the study of Torah and engagement with Jewish wisdom that our dedicated teachers provide.

Central to both the jubilee year and our school’s anniversary is the notion of legacy and continuity. Just as the jubilee year ensures the preservation of ancestral inheritance, our school’s 50th anniversary is a testament to the enduring legacy of Jewish education in our community. For five decades, our school has served as a center of learning, nurturing generations of students and instilling within them a deep appreciation for their heritage and tradition. Our school is among the many Jewish schools in Bergen County which dedicate themselves everyday to educating and nurturing our Jewish children.

Moreover, Behar emphasizes the importance of communal responsibility and mutual support. The laws concerning lending and borrowing promote economic cooperation and prevent the exploitation of the vulnerable. In a similar vein, our school embodies these values by fostering a sense of communal solidarity, where students, teachers, parents and alumni come together as a vibrant and supportive community.

In celebrating our school’s 50th anniversary, we reaffirm our commitment to Jewish education, the values it embodies, and to our community. We recognize the transformative power of education to shape lives, build community and inspire future generations. As we look ahead to the next 50 years and beyond, may our school continue to serve as a source of light and hope, guiding students on their journey of discovery, learning and spiritual growth. Through the timeless teachings of Parshat Behar and the enduring legacy of our school, may we be inspired to uphold the values of justice, compassion and communal responsibility, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.


Steve Freedman is the head of school at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford, New Jersey. Previously, he served as head of school at the Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills, Michigan for 16 years, and was a member of the board of the Association of Independent Michigan Schools (AIMS). He currently serves on the accreditation review committee for the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS). Steve is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Among his proudest accomplishments are his family; together with his wife Joan, he is the father of four and grandparent of five.

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