Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
"Shalom First Grade" seems to be nothing more than a simple children's song by Naomi Shemer. "Dana dozes, Dana wakes up, Dana folds her pajamas," the song begins. The rest of the song, however, is less well known. When describing what millions of parents in Israel will experience today – separation from their sweet child going off to school – Naomi Shemer goes to the Bible, to eternity: "And mother is already standing there, like Yocheved and Miriam, in the reeds the breeze is singing, a great journey begins today, shalom first grade."
What a powerful image! Like Yocheved, the mother of Moshe Rabbeinu, and like Miriam his big sister, two women who built the nation and watched little Moshe with trepidation, with hope, with a prayer for the future. So too, with holy trepidation, we accompany our children to the school gates.
This is not only about a notebook and a backpack, and even threats of a teachers' strike and the corona will not diminish this tradition. We connect ourselves today to our ancestors from all the generations who stood by and looked on with love as the next generation started on its way and grew up.
Good luck to the millions of students, parents, and teachers. A great journey begins today.