Summertime has just inched past the halfway point. In one month our children return to school.
Alas, we cannot yet say that for most families Jewish education for their children is more affordable today than it was last year. But nor will we say that the challenge indeed, the obligation, of making Jewish education affordable is out of reach, is beyond the collective ability of our community to make it happen. Despite the many laudable achievements of our community, until Jewish education is truly affordable, we will be less than we could be, less than we must be to fulfill the timeless aspirations and values of our people.
The community is indeed making progress toward making Jewish education affordable, though we have not yet arrived at our goal and the journey to the finish line is slower than we had hoped.
That we are still in mid-effort rather than celebrating the attainment of our objective must not discourage us. We must continue to push forward without losing resolve or determination. In his commentary on this week’s Torah portion, (Matot-Masei) Rabbi Marc Angel suggests how we can do that.
“Judaism imbues us with a sense that every day has meaning, that we can grow and attain something new and better. Life is not a rut or a routine; we are not trapped or locked in one place….
“We do not succumb to frustration or despair …. We are not here to achieve egotistical goals such as fame and power, but to serve God and humanity. Greatness is not measured by the number of lines one receives in history books, but by the myriad small deeds of kindness and charity and goodness that we have performed, by our positive impact on family, friends, and society.
“The detailed description of the Israelites’ travels in the wilderness reminds us of the importance of the past stages of our lives. It also serves to call our attention to the future, to the Promised Land, to the goals not yet attained. Just as we are strengthened by our past, we are energized by the hopes for our future.”
The goal of affordable Jewish education is not yet attained. But, as Rabbi Angel tells us, we are not locked into this place of unaffordability. Our hopes for the future energize us.
Failure is not an option.
Rabbi Angel’s commentary can be found at:
GAJE August 2, 2019