To our community: let’s finally resolve to make education affordable
“A people which two thousand years ago had already pioneered compulsory education for boys and which in its educational endeavour and community sponsorship was far superior to its neighbours, including even such enlightened nations as the Greeks and the Romans, such a people has known for ages that the community at large is responsible for education.”
The late, revered historian Salo Wittmayer Baron wrote those words in 1966 in the introduction of an essay concerning the Jewish community and Jewish education. They comprise the perfect reflective touchstone today as we say “congratulations” to all of our children, most of whom have just completed the school year 2018-2019.
In addition to feeling joyful that the year has ended, they deserve also to feel pleased and even proud that they are now further along the path to living meaningful – and positive – Jewish lives, confidently and purposefully. This is irrespective of their academic results, or whether they have completed SK, Grade 5, Grade 8 or Grade 12.
Today we must also say “thank you” to everyone involved in helping provide a Jewish education to our children – caretaking staff, administrative staff, teachers, principals and volunteer board members of the many schools.
And today we also say thank you to the community leaders who have undertaken to make Jewish education affordable for every family that seeks it. Their commitment is poignant proof of the truth of Baron’s observation and of the heart warming comfort that his statement is as true today as it was when he wrote it as well as during the time, some 2,000 years ago, of which he wrote.
Baron noted however, it was the community at large – not leaders and philanthropists alone – who are “responsible for education.” This has been GAJE’s message since we began publishing these weekly updates nearly five years ago.
It falls upon us all – according to our respective means and abilities – to be responsible for Jewish education. For if our educational system is at risk because it is beyond the economic reach of most young families, so too is our future as a vibrant Jewish community.
Therefore, let’s finally resolve to get it done. Let’s make Jewish education affordable.