Where lessons can be learned

Even as we ponder ways to make Jewish education more affordable for middle-income families, it is also worthwhile from time to time to reflect upon aspects of that education from a broader perspective. To that end, we bring readers’ attention to an instructive reflection by Rabbi Shaul Feldman the executive director of Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada.

Rabbi Feldman recently wrote an article, “Who is Wise? One Who Learns from All”, ostensibly about a summer seminar program in Israel called Generation Now Fellowship. It’s truer purpose, however, was to urge a wider, more patient approach in learning about and developing a sense of belonging to the Jewish people.

 “There is always more to learn about this awe-inspiring and often vexing project of our people,” Rabbi Feldman wrote. Then, as an instruction for the approach to learning about our people, he encapsulated six “critical messages for the world of education.”

  1. It is never too late to start learning from all.
  2. Good education can – and at times should – be unsettling.
  3. One must learn directly from/with those with opposing views and try to see if you can actually understand their viewpoints.
  4. As an educator, give youth a full picture. Don’t hide the issues that are uncomfortable and challenging from our teens.
  5. Strive for personal encounters, without borders that separate us from “the other.”
  6. Learn to truly love humans. After all, they are the designs of the Creator.

He then concluded with counsel that we should take to heart when trying to understand and connect with fellow Jews and fellow human beings who are different than we are.

“I believe that it is incumbent upon us to try to create more and more opportunities… where critical dialogue and (sometimes fraught) conversation among a group of committed educators/community leaders can take place.”

•••

Shabbat Shalom.

GAJE

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