If you have been in the Schechter lobby recently you might have heard the walls talking. For the past weeks parents, students, alumni, faculty and community members have been painting murals on the walls in honor of Krieger Schechter’s 30th anniversary. I’ve been keeping “paint clothes” in my office so that I can come and paint when my schedule allows. What an amazing energy pervades the lobby and hallways! There seem to always be volunteers happily splattered with paint and taking direction from our talented artist in residence Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen.
What I love about the initiative and experience is how truly communal it is. I painted next to some current Middle School students, upstairs from a former 8th grade Talmud student of mine, together with Mrs. Gottleib (check out our hallah on the second floor), sharing paint with a Lower School parent. Every day I stop by to see the progress and of the murals and see how the school is being transformed.
A great rabbi used to teach that a Jewish home should have a tzedakah box not just residing in the home, but that it should be affixed to the walls of the house so that the value of tzedakah becomes an intrinsic part of the house itself. I think the same can now be said of the walls of our Krieger Schechter Day School – that with the addition of these amazing murals the very walls of our school proclaim our values and the kind of education that our children receive. The value based education has always been intrinsic to KSDS but now we’ve made it part of the physical makeup of our synagogue and school home so our walls can do the talking for us.
I’ve been so inspired by the project that I’m thinking about doing the same to a wall in my house. Talking with my kids about our values and how we live them, and then painting the images on a wall of our home. But I’m a little afraid of the precedent I’d be setting by letting them draw on the walls!