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Lise's Lens: September 21, 2023

This week, I consider the Jewish observance of Rosh Hashanah, a podcast about the American legal system, and how being bilingual can impact decision-making.

Editor's Note: This week's community newsletter erroneously referred to Rosh Hashanah as "upcoming." We apologize for this oversight. 

  • My colleague recently shared a Guardian article about how thinking in a foreign language can improve decision-making. As someone who speaks and has taught multiple languages, I found it quite intriguing. While I believe thinking in a foreign language may improve decision-making, it is not the only attribute that contributes to improving decision-making. Take, for example, the many leaders and citizens of countries with two languages who make poor decisions… Nevertheless, on an individual level, I can relate to what the author is talking about, especially when it comes to recalling memories in your second language versus your mother tongue. But there are obviously MANY other pleasures and advantages of speaking a language other than your own. For me, Haitian Kreyol is colorful, easy on the tongue, and uses metaphors for expressing human attitudes and feelings. Romance languages are another great love for me. I studied Latin for many years and thought it was beautiful. I could go on and on… But I will end by saying I would love to learn Mandarin. Here’s hoping I can make it happen one day!
  • I am thinking about Rosh Hashanah. Though I am not Jewish, I recognize the importance of this time for the Jewish community. I read two articles this week around this theme that got me thinking about how our lived experiences, combined with our faith and our circumstances, lead us to practice our faith in meaningful ways that may appear different to others. The first article is from a Globe journalist who recalls her father wanting to return to this area (he was from Chicago) to show gratitude to a congregation that supported him as a young soldier in 1944. The other article is about a group of people who fold in sustainability as a priority in a concept they call “Reverse Tashlich.”

  • Have you listened to the Sisters-in-Law podcast? It’s already taught me so much about the American legal system. It’s hosted by Joyce Vance, Jill Wine-Banks, Barb McQuade, and Kimberly Atkins Stohr, and each week they share their thoughts on important rulings and issues in politics and culture, while also providing context on the inner workings of the American legal system. What podcasts have you all been listening to? Are they podcasts to learn or entertain? Are they about politics? Sports (Men in Blazers)? Psychology (Hidden Brain)? I’d love to hear your recommendations.
One Sunday we hosted a welcome reception at the Head’s House for new parents and guardians. I always enjoy this chance to put names to faces and share a bit more about the important role of parents in the CSW community. I am looking forward to our second gathering next weekend. 


The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.