Jewish education is an essential service

Campaigning to help make Jewish education affordable is built upon a foundational belief that such education is vital to assure a meaningful Jewish future without which there is no meaningful future for the world at large.

As the school year was drawing to a close and as the full extent of Covid-19 implications were shaping into truer focus, Elana G. Kahn, Associate Dean for Outreach at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, wrote an essay entitled Jewish Education is an Essential Service During Crisis and Always.”

The key message of her essay deserves wider distribution.

“As a society, the pandemic has led us to pare down our understanding of what is essential; not bars, but supermarkets; not barbershops but hospitals; not classrooms, but education. In our Jewish sphere, fighting hatred is essential, but it is not enough; we also need engagement and education. If we are to build a robust, healthy, and innovative Jewish community, we must continue to invest in education; we must know our Jewish selves.

“Our community has long argued about what is essential: How do we raise funds for education and culture when there are people who need to be fed and fights that need to be fought? The answer is messy – “yes, and.”

“We must have two hands active at the same time – one dealing with urgent needs and one planting for the future. That is how our community has always moved through challenges, by continuing to care for the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional needs of the people in our community. One hand in the present and the other ensuring the future…

“Learning about Judaism and our Jewish lives allows us to access wisdom that connects us to generations of Jews and helps us orient our lives around ancient and brilliant ideas.”

Those ancient and brilliant ideas, of which Kahn wrote, hold the key for a better future.

•••

Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.

Shabbat shalom

GAJE

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