When Daniel Drucker, Noah Farb, and I were tasked with constructing a Chapel Talk that could serve as an informative and personal lesson regarding the High Holidays, we quickly decided that we wanted to bring in a speaker. Rabbi Marc Baker is a prominent and renowned voice in the Greater Boston Jewish community. With Rabbi Baker’s intimate knowledge of community building and education, he seemed a perfect fit to not only demystify the Jewish holidays but make the subject matter interesting to a larger audience. Rabbi Baker was the Head of Gann Academy for over a decade, so he is at home in front of a crowd of teenagers.
Rabbi Baker graciously agreed to speak to our community. Curious about Belmont Hill, Rabbi Baker spoke with Mrs. Rupley and me to learn more about our school’s mission and community. With a week of prep time, Rabbi Baker pulled together remarks that eloquently tied together messages on character, forgiveness, and self-improvement in relation to the High Holidays. I was inspired by his openness in sharing his relation to religion as a teenager and prompting us to ask ourselves hard questions at the start of the academic year. His description of the High Holidays as a technology and “one-two punch of character development:… accountability and forgiveness” resonated with me as someone who observes the holidays.. I was thrilled to be approached by many students and faculty members who felt both educated and enlightened by the talk, which is undoubtedly a testament to Rabbi Baker’s dynamic speaking abilities and unique personal outlook. I am eternally grateful to Rabbi Baker for lending his time to our community.