Strategic Planning for the Soul: A Rosh Hashanah Message From Dr. Dalia Hochman

Dear Friends,

Many of us engage in strategic planning as part of our professional lives. We gather in a conference room or retreat off-site for a few days. We spend time articulating a vision for the future and then plan backwards, mapping out how we can achieve that vision. 

Why is it that in our professional lives we dedicate so much time to strategic planning and yet we rarely engage in strategic planning in our personal lives? How many of us have completed a whiteboard exercise related to how we interact with loved ones, parent our children, or care for ourselves? 

Luckily, the Yamim Hanoraim (Days of Awe)—which commence tonight and last for ten days—allow us the opportunity to engage in personal strategic planning. We ask: what did we commit to in the past? Were those goals realistic? How can our actions be better aligned with the version of ourselves we want to be in the world? 

Here at Gann, we work with our students to engage in this type of personal reflection each and every day. Whether in the classroom, at a Shabbaton, or during our Z’man Kodesh (spiritual time), we ask students to set goals, to reflect, and to be vulnerable with themselves and with others. In fact, the concept of Teshuva or repentance is embedded in Gann’s educational philosophy. We fundamentally believe in the growth of young people to return, to grow, and to learn from mistakes. Thanks to our world-class faculty, our students are able to sit down with their teachers and rabbis and reflect on how they can grow and improve. In fact, many college professors and community members often share with me how impressed they are by Gann graduates’ ability to reflect and to be self-aware. The life-long skill of personal strategic planning is one that is deeply rooted in our Jewish tradition.  

Our students are fortunate to attend a school where education is defined so broadly. As we begin a new Jewish year, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for making a Gann education possible for young people and invite you to join our community in nurturing the next generation of Jewish leaders through your contribution, regardless of the amount, to our annual campaign

Gann enters the Jewish Year of 5784 in a place of great strength; our enrollment is the largest in our school’s history, and our community continues to express their confidence in our program. We are humbled by the tremendous faith you place in us to educate the next generation of Jewish leaders. Your involvement is the cornerstone of our strength, and together, we can ensure a bright future for Gann and our students.   

Shanah Tovah U’Metuka!  

Wishing you a sweet, healthy, and happy New Year, 

Dr. Dalia Hochman

Head of School, Gann Academy

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