Last week, at the launch of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s 2018 campaign, Emily Martell, a Grade 12 student at TanenbaumCHAT, spoke about the importance of Jewish Education.
Her brief remarks were deeply personal, sweetly written, emotionally moving and powerfully inspiring. They should be required reading during these ten “interim” days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when we are inclined to introspection and reflection. Or should be.
We excerpt only a few statements from Emily’s remarks. However we recommend that you read her remarks in their entirety here, in The CJN: http://www.cjnews.com/perspectives/opinions/the-importance-of-jewish-education-grade-12-student-speaks-to-uja-federation.
Emily acknowledged what empirical evidence has already proven, namely: The cost of tuition does indeed make a difference in bringing children into our schools.
“Even though it wasn’t the only reason,” Emily said, “the cost of tuition played a role in my family’s decision to put me in the public school system.”
Emily also provides the data that were the result of the reduced tuition at CHAT.
“When I started in Grade 9, the total enrolment for my grade was 250 students. Last year, it dropped to only 190. This year, as I embark on my last year in the Jewish education system, I am so thrilled to see nearly 300 grade 9 students roaming the halls of TanenbaumCHAT. It is truly a blessing to know that so many kids will be able to share the same kinds of experiences that I have benefited from and that they will be getting a first-class Jewish and general studies education.”
Emily also spoke from the heart about the life-changing, long term attachment that results from being part of a system of Jewish education.
“Fortunately, I went to a great public school that was strong academically and where I built friendships that are very meaningful to me. But, there is just something about a Jewish education that is extremely special. I think one of the greatest values of a Jewish education, whether it’s through a day school or supplementary school, is that it goes such a long way toward instilling a love of Jewish life. But beyond that, it leads to a desire to become active in Jewish life and in helping to strengthen the Jewish community.”
Emily’s words are a testament to the observation of the ancient sages who proclaimed that after the destruction of the Second Temple, prophecy would be heard from the mouths of our children. We will not burden Emily by saying she uttered words of prophecy. But we can and will indeed say that she spoke words of forceful, compelling truth. And we shall thank her for doing so. Thank you Emily for sharing your words and stirring our hearts.
Shabbat Shalom. Gmar Chatimah Tovah.