Here at the Alfred & Adele Davis Academy we are excitedly preparing for Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays. Amid our preparations, many of our students are taking time to think about their goals for 5778. Not only are they thinking about their goals, but also about who they want to be and the kind of world in which they want to live.

When I stop to reflect on this exercise, I realize how incredible it is that the Atlanta community is able to support a Reform Jewish day school that inspires kids to think about the world beyond themselves. In that spirit, I wanted to share a few of the things I have heard from our students.

Keep in mind these are children ages 4 to 14. I hope you will agree that their aspirations are our aspirations and that the future is bright because these children will grow up to be the leaders of tomorrow.

In no particular order:

  • I want to practice being a mensch and living my values.
  • I want to figure out how I can make more contributions to my kehillah (community).
  • I want to be kinder to the people I love the most.
  • I want to get to know people who are different from me as well as members of my community I don’t really know that well.
  • I want to give more tzedakah because I am truly blessed.
  • I want to figure out what my spark is and discover my true talents and creativity.
  • I want to read more about current events in America and Israel so I can get involved and make my opinion heard.
  • I want to try something I’m afraid of to see if I can do it.
  • I want to count my blessings every single day so I remember how lucky I am.
  • I want to do my best and try my hardest in all areas of my life so I don’t have any regrets.

During my decade-long tenure at the Davis Academy, I have grown accustomed to hearing such wisdom and maturity from my students. I have also grown accustomed to watching so many of them not only meet their goals, but also surpass them.

I have often remarked that educators are, by nature, optimists. In sharing some of the wisdom of the Davis Academy student body with you, I hope that optimism spreads so that we can all embrace 5778 and the promise of a sweet new year.

Rabbi Micah Lapidus is the director of Jewish and Hebrew studies at the Alfred & Adele Davis Academy (