More than in most weeks, many of us sanctified some of the hours in our lives this week in the remembrance of “things past” – specifically, Kristallnacht and Remembrance Day. In truth, of course, what we remember is never merely drawn from the past but part of the immediacy and sustaining fibre of our lives.
Jews understand this deeply because our collective memory is the forge in which our links one to the other have been fashioned through the millennia. Memory is enshrined in our Holy Books. Our Holy books enshrine our values and traditions. Our values and traditions are who we are.
And it has been in the classroom by virtue of the love and the hard work of our teachers that our children – we – have learned precisely that: who we are. Irrespective of the locale, of the community, of the circumstances of our lives, the living stream of education and teaching has always nourished the Jewish people.
Even in the 11th century, in correspondence to a Jew in Yemen aimed at providing comfort and empathy to a community in extremis dealing with the spectre of forced mass conversion, Maimonides still emphasized the preeminent importance of education.
“Now, all my fellow countrymen in the Diaspora, it behooves you to hearten one another, the elders to guide the youth, the leaders to direct the masses…It is imperative, my fellow Jews, that you make this great spectacle of the revelation appeal to the imagination of your children,” Maimonides wrote.
Thankfully, our community has an excellent teaching infrastructure and excellent teachers who know how to make “the great spectacle “of our religion “appeal to the imagination” of our children. Maimonides would be pleased to see this. But – if we are permitted to speculate – he would not be pleased to see that, despite the ongoing efforts of our community elders, the cost of educating our children is still beyond the reach of many young families.
In the upcoming week the Government of Ontario will be “offering take-home polymerase chain reaction (PCR) self-collection kits to all publicly funded schools across the province.” (Our emphasis). The health and safety of children in independent schools are once again ignored by the provincial government. We urge all readers of this update to bring their disappointment if not anger to the attention of their Members of the Provincial Parliament
GAJE will soon launch a lawsuit to try to end the Government of Ontario’s funding discrimination against Jewish (and other) independent schools. We are deeply appreciative of the many individuals who have to date joined our cause, who have contributed in helping underwrite the legal effort. Thus far, we have raised half of the amount needed. Please encourage your friends to also join in our effort. If we do not care, who will?
To donate to the cause, please click here.
(For further information, please contact Israel Mida at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Be safe. Be well. Shabbat shalom.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
November 12, 2021