Linda Gafni – Early Childhood

We Love Linda!

What is your favorite part about teaching? People always ask me why I teach: I just love it! After all these years, I just feel like I totally make a difference in a child’s life. Children between 4 and 5 are like sponges, they are so eager to learn. I can grab them when they are malleable and take them to places. They are so enthusiastic, I just help them get there. I love to watch them as they grow in this year between Preschool and kindergarten. In Pre-K they make such strides, I never get tired of watching them grow.

Why is being Jewish important to you? I grew up in a Jewish home and went to Hebrew School with all my sisters, yet I was the only one who had a bat mitzvah. I loved the singing, prayers and tradition within the Jewish religion. I still read Hebrew, it is ingrained in who I am. I always go to High Holy days, and I feel very connected to the Jewish religion. My husband was born in Israel. I connect with Israel, and I have a deep love and connection. I may be secular, but I identify greatly with my heart with being Jewish. Judaism is in our hearts and our blood.

What inspires you about Israel? Israel is the most amazing country. It is my absolute favorite. To be Jewish and travel to the Jewish state of Israel is incredible. I have been there 4 times, and I learn something new each time. The people are so friendly, the sights are so beautiful. It is such a magical place with rich history and landscape. My husband is from Israel, and my sister lived there for 20 years. I have relatives that live there, and I eagerly await my next visit.

What is your favorite memory after teaching all these years? Graduation! Watching our students preform, watching them stand up in front of friends, family, teachers and other families is huge. All kids get nervous, but they work SO hard, and by graduation, they stand up there with strong voices and sing! Having to memorize lines and songs while being videotaped – that’s a lot of pressure for a 5 year old! But they do it and they do it flawlessly.

How does that make you feel? It makes me burst with pride and relief. It is a big production, and they are absolutely adorable. To see them at their graduation is bittersweet. So much time and love was spent on them the whole year — I miss every class. But the pride they have in themselves at graduation makes it all worth it.

Linda prepares for Shabbat in the classroom.