JEWISH LIFE OF THE SCHOOL
King David High School attracts almost all of the potential Jewish pupils in the area. Most pupils in King David are of other faiths, however our Jewish values underpin all aspects of school life and we are committed to ensuring that our Jewish ethos is maintained and indeed strengthened. This is achieved most notably through the King David Way – a set of values we feel epitomise life at King David, centred on Chesed, Kehila and a commitment to learning – central pillars of Judaism and expressed through our school motto: Let there be light though faith and work.
Important days in the Jewish year are marked across the Campus by all students and there are many visitors to the School who are involved with the Jewish world, such as Professor Robert Winston. The School charities, Jewish and non-Jewish, are a reflection of the dual nature of King David High - a unique school - a Jewish school - with a multicultural and diverse student body.
Within the Liverpool Jewish community, King David High School is regarded as vital in the Jewish education of the future generations. It is testament to the inclusive nature of the school’s faith ethos that all children (regardless of faith) are able to build upon the school’s community ethos. Pupils who demonstrate the King David Way as part of their daily demeanour and treatment of others are celebrated on the school’s King David Way boards. These are located in the school’s reception , serving as a visual reminder to all school visitors of the values which underpin our school community.
It is not simply the formal education process in general Judaism, Bar and Bat Mitzvah Studies, Jewish History or GCSE and A-level courses, but also the sympathetic transmission of the "golden chain" of Jewish tradition. Thus, subjects covered in school are often important in the longer time span, e.g. the significance of the Talmud and Mishna, the importance of keeping Shabbat, Kashrut, festival observance, positive identification as being part of the Jewish family, Israel etc.
Prayer within Judaism is formalised as the morning (Shacharit), afternoon (Mincha) and evening (Ma'ariv) services. It is vital that students gain "hands on" experience of prayer - there is a compulsory Shacharit service each week, led by Jewish faith leaders here in Liverpool. Collective worship is a feature for all pupils with assemblies and reflection in Ready to Learn.
Local rabbonim are regularly invited in to host Jewish Services which are held on Wednesdays for Girls and Thursdays for Boys at 8.30am. There is a Shabbat service every Friday for all Jewish pupils at 8:30, also.
The balance of the School Curriculum is heavily influenced by the fact that both Jewish Studies and Modern Hebrew are essential and compulsory components of a Jewish pupil's programme, with the former ending at KS4, and the latter at KS3. (with the potential for further study across Key stages 4 and 5).
Strands of the Jewish ethos and values permeates all aspects of the school, with topics such as Holocaust studies in History, Judaism in RE or Israel in Geography and Dreidel probability in Maths. As indicted in our Programme of Collective Worship, the assembly themes are driven by the weekly parashot and daily registration includes a moment of silent reflection for all pupils as a daily act of collective worship.
At King David, we believe in an immersive education, which we achieve by offering a multitude of school trips throughout the year, including the opportunity for Year 9 pupils to experience living at Kibbutz Lavi, as well as prospective annual trips to Israel and a partnership with the Menachem School in St Petersburg, Russia.
There are also a series of visits planned for pupils across all year groups in association with various agencies in order to extend and deepen the students’ understanding of their Jewish roots and identity. Informal activities are also offered at lunchtime such as our weekly Parshah study group on Tuesdays and our Israel club.
Pupils are assigned a tutor group on entry to the High School which forms the House system.
The tutor groups are named after four regions of Israel and the school badge has a different colour depending on which house a pupil is assigned to.
All Jewish pupils from Year 7 to 13 should be strongly encouraged to attend and take an active part in Jewish Services. Apart from festivals where times may vary, these take place at 8.30am on Wednesdays and Fridays in the Beth Knesset or in Jewish studies room 2.
A communal service (called a "minyan") requires a quorum of 10 males aged 13+ to take place. A full Jewish morning service takes place on one of the intermediate days of Sukkot, on Purim and also Yom Ha’Atzmaut. A register is taken on these occasions.
Pupils are encouraged to lead all sections of the School services, and to play their full part within this most essential area of Jewish community life.
All school trips are organised in accordance with Jewish laws and guidance and with the Jewish Calendar in mind.
Modesty is the foundation of Jewish values and is one of the fundamental underpinnings of the Jewish family. While it has wider meanings across many aspects of Jewish life, it particularly relates to dress. As an Orthodox Jewish School, our school uniform complies with this Jewish law: skirts should be below the knee and the shirts and blazers also ensure that pupils are dressed modestly. On the occasion that pupils are permitted to wear their “home” clothes, this same modesty must be observed. On a practical level this means the following items are not permitted: shorts, short skirts, low-cut blouses, crop tops, revealing, and tight-fitting clothing , playsuits and ‘strappy’ tops.
Dietary Laws - Kashrut
All foods officially consumed on the premises must comply with the rules of kashrut. Therefore the school lunches, Food Technology classes, PA refreshments and so on are all offered under the rigorous and extensive controls of Jewish law, the Liverpool Kashrut Commission under the auspices of the London Beth Din.
This includes the complete separation of milk and meat foods and their derivatives and all the utensils that come into contact with them.
The main school kitchens is run as a "meat operation" and that means that no dairy foods can be served from it - All food consumed on the blue folding tables must be prepared in the School Kitchen and all trays, cutlery and crockery must not be taken out of the Atrium under any circumstances.
Apart from sandwiches bought in the canteen, no food should be taken out of the Dining Room to be consumed anywhere else in the school by any pupils or, indeed, staff. No cutlery or plates etc should be taken from the Atrium. No food or drink should be taken into the Atrium, unless designated areas.
The Food Technology room is a dairy kitchen and, again, is not an area where pupils or staff should eat any food not prepared there. It must be kept strictly kosher. No food or drink should be taken into the Food Technology room, except for pupils bringing ingredient under the supervision of the Food technology teacher. For students and staff, packed lunch must not include any meat, poultry, or shellfish. This includes the staffroom.
Food which is not officially provided cannot be guaranteed kosher, and so pupils bringing packed lunches must abide by the rules regarding kashrut. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, HOWEVER, MAY IT BE BROUGHT INTO CONTACT WITH SCHOOL FOOD FACILITIES. For example, utensils cannot be borrowed from the Food Technology room for use at an end-of-term party where food has been brought into School by the participants.
In the Staffroom
All food stored in the Staffroom must be completely wrapped so that the kosher and non-kosher food can be stored side-by-side with impunity in the fridge, or cooked without steam and spills making the microwave non-kosher. If by any chance something does spill over, or a bag breaks, please do not just clean up, but inform Rabbi Pereira so that he can advise on the proper way of ensuring that the facilities remain useable by all staff.
ALL TRIPS THAT PROVIDE FOOD AS PART OF THE COST MUST PROVIDE FOOD THAT IS ACCEPTABLY KOSHER, AND BE ACCOMPANIED BY SOMEONE WHO IS SUFFICIENTLY QUALIFIED AND INFORMED TO CONFIRM THAT THIS IS SO. Pupils must not use "prepared food" facilities, e.g. cafes when on trips, and must not purchase any food or drink at all unless already ascertained as kosher and given permission by a teacher.
When, perhaps, giving an end of term treat, staff must ensure that all items, including confectionary, are kosher.
All doors (other than toilets and storerooms) will have a mezuzah fixed on the right-hand doorpost. This is a small case, about the size of an adult's finger, containing a scroll of parchment on which is written the creedal Jewish statement of God's Oneness and Unity, the responsibility to love God in all ways, the responsibility to educate children and the biblical commandment to "write these words on the doorposts of your house and upon your gates".
By the Campus reception is a room called the Tilly Rosenblatt Beit Knesset. This is the School's own small synagogue. While it is in no way "holy" or "consecrated", it is deserving of special respect and staff should ensure that Jewish boys have their heads respectfully covered.
Jewish boys are encouraged to wear their kippot at all times - it being compulsory within Judaism - and should also have their heads covered in Assembly and in the Dining Room, as well as in Jewish Studies and Modern Hebrew lessons. All members of staff should help to ensure that this school rule is observed like any other.
Regarding school clothes generally, Judaism regards modesty in dress as a great virtue. Sixth form female students sometimes wear clothing in summer which is not in keeping with this modesty - shorts, short skirts, bare midriffs and low-cut or revealing tops. A quiet word, diplomatically put, is usually enough to let these girls realise their apparel is not in keeping with the ethos of the School.
The calendar of Judaism is thronged with festivals and commemorative days, and many of these affect the School in one way or another. Since the Jewish calendar is a lunar one (adjusted occasionally by a leap month) it is not easy to identify the pattern of the relationship between the dates of the Jewish festivals and the secular calendar, except in the most general terms. Certain festivals and Shabbat so thoroughly forbid workday activities that it becomes essential for the School to close. Such closures affect the term dates and holidays, since we are still bound to have 195 days in School.
Every week, the Jewish day starts at sunset, and so Shabbat starts on Friday evening at varying times throughout the year. In the winter, the fact that Shabbat starts so early on Friday necessitates School closing early and a specially compacted timetable is operated. Shabbat finishes at nightfall on Saturday night so that, for example, a theatre outing on Saturday night in the winter is not impossible. Any school trip which is planned to operate over Shabbat will produce very real, but not insurmountable challenges.
Jewish New Year (two days in September). One of the High Holy Days. School normally finishes early on the eve of Rosh Hashana to allow adequate time for preparation. (Next day is the Fast of Gedaliah).
Day of Atonement (one day in September/October). The tenth day of the year and the other High Holy Day. This is a full 25 hours of fasting, during which neither food nor drink is consumed. School finishes early on Kol Nidre, the eve of Yom Kippur. Jewish pupils will attend a special pre-fast afternoon service.
Festival of Booths (eight days in September/October). The first two days are full festival days on which the School will be closed. During this festival, the most evident practise is the waving of the four species (Lulav) and taking the opportunity to spend time in a sukka - a sort of open-roofed hut. On one of the days following School closure, School will start late to allow for the compulsory extended service. This is followed by Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, which are full festival days when the school is closed.
The Celebration of the Torah. This is a tremendously joyous festival, and celebrates the never-ending cycle of the reading and learning from the Torah, the source and core of Jewish inspiration.
Because the festivals listed above mostly fall on the same days of the week as each other, the School operates a rolling timetable for some of the time to ensure that staff do not lose contact or continuity with their classes.
(Eight days in November/December.) Each day, School will finish early for the main feature of the festival - the lighting of the multi-branched Hannukiah, including the giant outdoor hannukiah, which is erected each year for this purpose at the front of the School. Special assemblies and other activities also take place.
The new year for trees (one day in January/February). Normally marked in School by an assembly for Year 7, and a tree-planting exercise in the School grounds.
(One day in March.) This is the main carnival day of the year. Fancy dress and charity-giving are encouraged. Hardly any proper lessons take place, and there is normally some kind of event put on by and for the pupils.
Passover (eight days in March/April). The School will always close for Pesach. Most years it coincides with Easter but, when it does not, there will be a short Easter holiday and a Pesach holiday. The preparations for Pesach are extensive, and so any Pesach holiday will start a couple of days before the start of the festival. Technically, the middle four days of the festival are not as rigorously controlled as the first and last two days (as with Sukkot), but the additional food restrictions of Pesach in particular make it impossible for the School to open.
Holocaust Memorial Day (one day in April). A special assembly is normally held to commemorate the day. All staff are urged to consider ways in which time could be given in their lessons to consider, even briefly, some aspect of the Holocaust within the context of their subject. For example, one year the Maths Department did some very thought-provoking work on the number 6 million.
Israel Independence Day
(One day in April/May). School will start late to allow time for the specially extended service which is followed by an Israeli-style breakfast for those who attend. During the day, some sort of celebration will take place.
(49 days from Pesach to Shavuot.) This is traditionally a time of mourning and, with the exception of a few days during the period (e.g. Yom Ha'atzmaut, New Moon days), entertainment such as shows and concerts are not allowed. Advice should also be sought before any trips are planned.
Pentecost (two days in May/June). School will close on both days of Shavuot.
The Three Weeks
(July/August). This period of mourning for Jerusalem and the destroyed Temple starts with a minor fast and finishes with a major one - Tisha B'Av. This fast rarely falls during the school year but, when it does, the day's programme will necessarily reflect it. Once again, as during the Omer (above) no celebrations or entertainment of a musical or dramatic kind can take place during the Three Weeks. In addition, during the last nine days, meat is abstained from. Advice should also be sought before any trips are planned.