We were all deeply saddened this week to hear about the death of his Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. The students have been writing condolence wishes to the Royal Family and have been learning more about Prince Philip’s extraordinary life. We also reminded them that, in 1993, Yad Vashem bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Princess Alice, Prince Philip’s mother, to commemorate the fact that she saved a Jewish family from Nazi persecution. A year later, her children, Prince Philip and Princess George of Hanover travelled to Yad Vashem and planted a tree in her honour. During the ceremony, Prince Philip said: “I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with deep religious faith and she would have considered it to be a totally human action to fellow human beings in distress.”
This selfless attitude to duty was also evident in Prince Philip’s life as well. He continually demonstrated his unfailing support and loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen over many decades.
At Hasmonean, we have also run the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for many years – this has inspired many generations of Hasmonean students to help others, to think about their roles as citizens of the United Kingdom and to instil a desire in helping to serve their communities.
Prince Philip’s long and extraordinary life, his faithful service, support for young people and commitment to community are characteristics which we aim to nurture in the students from the time they start Hasmonean until they leave.
This week’s Parsha describes certain afflictions, collectively called tzara’as, which caused the affected person (or item) to become tamei. The Gemara in Arachin 16a details that one of the reasons why a person could be afflicted with tzara’as was because they were arrogant and disconnected from humanity. It is clear that Prince Philip, as the consort to Her Majesty the Queen, always had a human touch and connected with the people around him. He will be much missed.
Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher – Boys’ School