Education is Our Light

(Dedicated to the memory of Gidon Grundland)

This time next week we will have already lit the first Chanukah candle.

Screenwriters, speechwriters, theologians, poets, even greeting card writers often use an iteration of the image of light-piercing-penetrating-conquering-casting aside-darkness. With good reason. It conveys rich imagery. It is relevant and very tangibly applicable to our lives, indeed to all human life, at any number of literal and metaphorical levels.

As we know, the name for this holiday,Chanukah, derives from the noun for the rededication of the Temple after its desecration by Antiochan Hellenists. Lighting the oil of the menorah was a core part of the Temple ritual. Lighting the candles of our respective chanukiyot for the eight days of the holiday, replicates this part of the Temple service.

The late Rabbi Joseph Kelman would often remind congregants that the etymological root of the Hebrew word Chanukah was the same as that for Chinuch, ie, Education. The homiletical connection, he sagely pointed out, was obvious: Education is – and has always been – the light by which every Jewish generation has kept alight and aglow the eternal flame of Judaism. This is no mere rhetorical flourish. It is an observable truth that all of us – in some form and at some time – have witnessed and understood deeply in our hearts.

The responsibility of ensuring Jewish continuity is only partially fulfilled in holding dearly onto what we received from our forebears. Its fuller realization is in passing forward, before the end of our days on this earth, the values, traditions and beliefs our parents and grandparents attempted lovingly, as best they could, entrust to us.

•••

We remind readers of the need to make our voices heard with the government of Ontario asking for equal treatment for children in independent schools with children in public schools regarding the federal funds sent to the province specifically to help abate Covid-based costs in schools.

The Federal government has already disbursed $371 million dollars to help Ontario schools contend with unforeseen pandemic-related expenses. Another $371 million is scheduled to arrive in January. Yet, the provincial government distributed none of the first tranche of these funds to non-publicly funded schools, even though the amount Ontario received from Ottawa was based upon a calculation of all school-age children in the province. 
 

Please visit the site: Supporting Students campaign (www.supportingstudents.ca)

In addition, please contact your members of the provincial parliament and share this information with friends and family.

•••

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

Shabbat shalom. Chag Chanukah samayach (next week).

GAJE, Dec. 3, 2020

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