Alan Flashman

(6th Grade) Class of ’24


I awoke this morning from a long and detailed dream. Of course, the “day residue” that preceded the dream should be taken into account. I spent the evening in communal weeping at the words of our president, zooming in on some of the wonderful people no longer with us.

My dream took place over four days in which I was somehow involved in meeting kids from a displaced community. The venue was desert, reminiscent of the area in Machtesh Ramon that I hope to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow hiking with my wife.

The issue at hand was the “Class of ’24” – kids graduating 6th grade in another month. These kids started first grade in 2018 and were fated to have every year of elementary school past their first one interrupted by Covid, missiles and worse. The community was one displaced – probably from the Gaza border – and not yet returned home. My thought was a simple one. These kids should not move to the usual 7th grade where the classes are shuffled and where the kids move from teacher to teacher. I thought (in the dream I actually offered unsolicited consultation that – it’s a dream, after all – was received thoughtfully) that they should be given another year or two of feeling that they “belong” to their home class. It would require shuffling usual logistics, but the emotional needs of our developing future citizens come first.

If we had a government and Minister of Education open to such thoughts, I would do something other than blogging here.


This is a dream in a second semantic set. I immediately thought of the Class of ’24 in Gaza. Such a thought is informed by my actual experience with Israeli and West Bank Palestinian teachers two and a half decades ago. The Middle East Children’s Association struggled to keep alive dialogue among teachers who were concerned about how their pupils were thinking about the future. The project died a quiet and unreported death around 2008 after – as my Palestinian colleagues reported – “Sharon’s Wall” made Palestinians despair of dialogue. (The “no partner” Israeli locution said the same thing). For anyone interested, I wrote a short account of that project.

Hold onto your seats. My waking dream is that now that walls have failed – and wars seem to be proving increasingly futile – it could be time to renew dialogue. Not just any dialogue. Dialogue among the educators on both sides of the Gaza border. Now, tragically, the classes of ’24 have some things in common. (Yes, I know, not “proportionate,” whatever that means, but something). Could educators discuss how 7th and 8th grades will look like for the classes of ’24? Could kids even communicate with each other about their enormous tragedies?

Psalm 126 hints at a connection between return and dreaming. In the words of a more contemprary sweet singer,

“You can call me a dreamer

But I’m not the only one.”

About the Author
Alan Flashman was born in Foxborough, MA, and gained his BA from Columbia, MD from NYU, Pediatrics, Adult and Child Psychiatry specialties at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Bronx, NY. He has practiced in Beer Sheba since 1983, and taught mental health at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University. Alan has edited readers on Therapeutic Communication with Children (2002) and Adolescents (2005) in Hebrew, translated Buber's I and Thou anew into Hebrew, and authored Losing It, an autobiography, and From Protection to Passover. He recently published two summary works of his clinical experience (both 2022) Family Therapies for the 21st Century and Mental Health in Pediatrics.