Friday, December 9, 2016

Rock Shabbat 2016

Another fabulous Spirit Week at The Davis Academy concluded this morning with our annual Rock Shabbat. Bringing together our Davis Decibelles, Magical Melodies, and Fusion Rock Bands, Rock Shabbat is a wonderful example of what makes Davis special. Here are some things you can learn about The Davis Academy from Rock Shabbat:

1. We rock. It's just that simple. Kind of like Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival so many years ago, we're not afraid to crank up the electric guitar and bring new energy to our beloved songs and prayers.

2. We work together. Rock Shabbat is the result of hours of collaboration that brings our Visual and Performing Arts Team and our Jewish Studies Team together. Not only that, but the 60+ student performers as well. It wouldn't work if we didn't fully appreciate that the sum is greater than the individual parts and that we are at our best when we all bring our special gifts and voices to the fore.

3. We celebrate. Our Davis Kehilah loves Rock Shabbat. That's because we love to celebrate as a school community. We love to celebrate our classmates, our children, our Judaism, and our creativity. It's important that we teach our children the importance of celebrating as well as instill in them a deep understanding of what is truly worthy of celebration.

4. We shine. You can see the light radiating in the faces of the children as they sing and perform. You can see that same light in the rest of the student body that sings along. You can see it in the faces of the parents and grandparents and community members who are perpetually astonished to know that a community like The Davis Academy exists and thrives. There's an undeniable light that emanates from The Davis Academy. It touches thousands of lives directly and many more indirectly.

5. We create. Rock Shabbat is, at its core, a creative undertaking. Whether in the arrangements of existing songs and melodies or through the performance of original music written by members of our Davis community. Even as we create the music of Rock Shabbat, there is something even more profound being created-- a living, breathing, singing, rocking, creative, celebratory, radiant school community built on the timeless foundations of Jewish tradition with an immeasurable amount of spirit, a vibrant present, and an exciting future.

Enjoy some pictures!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

An American Hero

  Last night, The Davis Academy had the honor and privilege of hosting Congressman John Lewis on our Lower School campus. Speaking before a crowd of approximately 500 guests, Congressman Lewis spoke about his childhood, his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and his award winning series of graphic novels, March. Students, Davis community members, area neighbors, members of the press, as well as Mayor Rusty Paul of Sandy Springs and Ambassador Judy Schorer, the Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States were in attendance. And everyone appreciated Congressman Lewis' humor, passion, optimism, and conviction. Congressman Lewis reminded us that our country has made incredible strides in the last 50 years and that America can and must be a beacon of light and an inspiration to the rest of the world.

              In a private meeting with Davis Academy Student Government representatives and later during the public portion of the evening, Congressman Lewis emphasized the importance of getting involved, getting "in the way", and causing "good and necessary trouble." When asked what Dr. King would say about America today, Congressman Lewis said that Dr. King would encourage us all to keep the faith, keep the hope, and remember that there are always ups and downs in our individual lives and the life of our nation.

  Several standing ovations, a long and diverse line of guests waiting to shake his hand, and a general feeling of warmth, community, and shared purpose filled the room. Congressman Lewis has already accepted an invitation to return to The Davis Academy. It would certainly be a tremendous honor to host him again.



Friday, November 11, 2016

"I want to see my face, not my mask." Davis Academy Middle School Day of Learning at The Alliance Theater

Today Davis Academy middle school students participated in our 3rd annual day of learning at The Alliance Theater. The focus of our day of learning was a timely and powerful play called, Slur. Set in a middle school, Slur tells the story of how the word "Jihadist" came to be spray painted on the locker of a Muslim student in the school. It focuses on both the motivation and the impact of the incident. As with past theater performances at The Alliance, our students and all attendees were captivated.

Following the play, our students had an opportunity to learn from a diverse panel of guests that we assembled to help extend the learning. Thomas Pinckney of The Alliance Theater joined Sherry Frank, long time director of the Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee and civil rights activist, Nicole Moore of The Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Munir Meghjani, a leader of Atlanta's Interfaith community. The discussion was incredibly high level and covered topics ranging from "privilege" to identity politics, to reconciliation after the divisiveness of the 2016 presidential election. 

Back on the Davis campus students participated in a series of rotations focusing on the power of speech, the masks we wear, and the complexity of identity. Poems were written, pieces of art created, and complex ideas expressed. As a participant I witnessed vulnerability, honesty, intentional listening, and much more. 

Days like these reinforce one of The Davis Academy's core beliefs-- that learning is a disposition, not something that takes place only in a classroom and that the best learning influences the way students view the world and the choices they make. 

There could not have been a better way to honor Veterans Day or reflect on the complex events taking place across America and around the world than through a day of learning inspired by a provocative piece of theater like Slur.