Weekly Update: October 14, 2016 — 12 Tishrei 5777

Teachers are our heroes

Between the start of the school year and the commencement of the intense “Tishrei holidays,” the teachers in the community’s schools had less than one month to teach and in some cases to introduce the lessons of the holidays to our young children. Indeed, some years, they have had less than one week to do so. And yet, in the main, they have succeeded with spectacular results. The proof, of course, is in the many festive scenes at home and in the synagogue in which our children take meaningful part and joyous delight. And the more high-spirited holiday – Sukkot – is still on the way!

The gratifying involvement of our children in the holidays brings to mind a statement by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who notes that teachers and educators are so significant in Jewish tradition that the first Mourners’ Kaddish we recite in our morning prayers is actually dedicated to them.

As we recorded in the GAJE update of June 24, Rabbi Sacks has eloquently written about our connection to teachers and educators. It warrants repeating.

“For Jews, education is not just what we know. It’s who we are. No people ever cared for education more. Our ancestors were the first to make education a religious command, and the first to create a compulsory universal system of schooling – eighteen centuries before Britain… The Egyptians built pyramids, the Greeks built temples, and the Romans built amphitheaters. Jews built schools. They knew that to defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilization you need education. So Jews became the people whose heroes were teachers, whose citadels were schools, and whose passion was study and the life of the mind.”

How favoured the community that acknowledges and honours its teachers and educators!

•••

When our community succeeds in making Jewish education affordable, its core will be our excellent teachers and educators.

•••

Shabbat shalom. Chag Sukkot samayach.

GAJE

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