Wominjeka – come with purpose and possibility
Welcome to a new school year. I would like to share with you the words I shared at today’s Back to School Service.
Bereishit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
Once upon a time …
These are considered amongst the most recognisable openings to texts of all time.
The four best opening moves in chess are commonly considered to be e4, d4, c4 and Knight to f3.
In 2017, Belgian soccer player, Christian Benteke, registered the fastest international goal of all time, scoring within 8.1 seconds of the start of a match against Gibraltar. This was made even more impressive as Gibraltar started with the ball in the centre circle.
The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night starts with an obscure chord that has become one of the most talked-about openings to a song in history. The chord reverberates and jangles with possibility, setting the tone for a revolutionary approach that will deliver an epic new sound and era of music.
How many of you have seen Back to the Future?
In my opinion it contains one of the best opening sequences to a film ever. It starts with a slow pan across the wall of a bunch of different clocks which are all ticking. The owner of the room is clearly obsessed with time. Next, the camera travels past a framed article about Brown mansion being burnt down and then sold to developers and some framed images of famous scientists. Then the pan continues to a machine that turns on a television to a news report about some stolen plutonium, then past some hand-built machines that automatically brew coffee, repeatedly burn toast and slop dogfood into a bowl that bears the name “Einstein”.
In this brief sequence we have been fully introduced to the character Doctor Emmet Brown without actually meeting him or seeing him on screen and without any line of dialogue from a character. We learn that he is a mad scientist obsessed with time who has probably stolen plutonium to build a time machine. The whole premise of the film is set up within the first minute and a half.
So what makes a good beginning?
In chess it is about possibility. The best beginnings open up the opportunity to control the middle of the board.
In film it’s about exposition and setting up the fictional world as efficiently as possible.
In literature some common tips are to open with the strong voice of a protagonist or narrator, to quickly establish a setting and introduce a key problem or issue.
So, what is your beginning for the new year?
How can we all start 2021 in the best possible way?
The beginning you choose will set momentum for your year ahead. If we start off with good habits and a positive approach this should follow through the year.
At this Back to School Service I hope that you can each commit yourself to embracing the year’s theme: Wominjeka – come with purpose and possibility. Make a great start to the year by committing yourself to be the best you can be in your approach to your studies, your approach to your teachers and your approach to your fellow students.
Start well by including others, and working to contribute positively to the school culture and spirit.
Speaking of great beginnings: 43 years ago our precious school was born from dreams and a vision. It was Rabbi Dr John Levi who inspired the progressive community to work so hard to create a new school that reflected its purpose and values. Rabbi Levi, together with his wife Robyn, have been our founders, our constant supporters and the best friends the School will ever have. Last week, Rabbi Levi was honoured by being made a Companion of the Order of Australia – amongst the highest official honours in the land. On our community’s behalf I wish Rabbi Levi a huge mazal tov and yasher koach – we are so proud of your recognition and grateful to you for your contribution to our school and community.
I wish you a wonderful start to 2021!