Editorial 5/3/2020

Dear Parent,

Last week we read Parshat Terumah where the Bnei Yisroel were asked to contribute to the building of the Mishkan, as much as their heart was able to give. Later in the Torah however we are told that each person was required to contribute half a shekel towards the Mishkan – why the need for both?

Rashi in Ki Tissa tells us that the voluntary donations were used for the majority of the building and vessels, however the two sets of half shekels that everyone was required to give were set aside for the sockets and communal korbanot. Why?

When building a communal function, there are two key facets:

1. To create a true communal facility everyone needs to contribute. The sockets were the foundations upon which the entire mishkan stood and the communal korbanot were the foundational service around which the mishkan functioned. Without everyone’s buy in, without everyone setting aside part of themselves and contributing financially, there could be no base upon which any communal facility functions.

2. Once you have the foundations, everyone’s personal donation makes a fundamental difference to the operational capability. The basics operate with the half shekels, but anything more becomes non-viable.

Hasmonean is our community school and, much like the Mishkan, cannot function in a vacuum. As I write this message, contributions from families continue to run well behind last year (£300k to the end of February). The governors, teachers and students are immensely grateful to all those parents who have honoured this year’s VC request, but unfortunately many families have not yet been able to do so. As our partners in your children’s education we turn to you to seek your continued support, to avoid a chipping away at the foundations upon which Hasmonean is built.

Next week is Purim, a time when the Jewish Community shines brightly in its generosity. When considering where to allocate your tzedokah funds, please ensure you bear in mind our children’s chinuch. All the communal rabbonim have agreed that the first call on your tzedokah needs to be our community’s outstanding chinuch institutions. Please take a few moments to make a donation now here: https://www.parentpay.com/

With kind regards,

Mr Jonny Feinmesser
Chair of Hasmonean MAT’s Finance Committee

Dear Parent,

I would like to add my own thoughts to those of Jonny Feinmesser.

The cuts which were sadly necessary last year to balance our budget are taking their toll on the school and on staff who are teaching heavier timetables and larger classes. Teachers are working extremely hard to give the kind of attention to every child that they would like to, but the extra pressures are being felt across the board.

If we wish to recruit and retain the very best teachers, we have to provide them with conditions to enable them to be effective. When teachers flourish, students flourish.

The cost of running two relatively small schools with a broad secular and Kodesh curriculum far exceeds the income it receives from the government.

The amount which you contribute in voluntary contributions directly impacts on our capacity to focus on things that really matter: safeguarding, mental health and pastoral support; the quality of teaching; the breadth of the curriculum; the physical environment which students occupy for so much of their day-to-day lives.

The more you give, the more we can achieve; the less you give, the less we can achieve.

It is therefore absolutely imperative that every family gives as much as it can possibly afford to. To those who do, I add my sincere thanks to Jonny’s: you truly are our lifeblood.

The consequences of not meeting our voluntary contributions target this year are unthinkable. Hasmonean is a unique institution. Its success depends on your voluntary contributions and its future really is in your hands.

With kind regards,

Mr A McClusky
CEO, Hasmonean MAT