Finding strength to deal with more distress

The “other” calendar year is now winding down. Two Fridays remain in 2021. Once again, we must find our resolve to “lift” ourselves to ward off – as much as we are able – the harm from the ever evolving, oppressive pandemic. Who would have thought that we now begin a third year under Covid’s shadow? Let us not lose our way, our strength, or our goodness to do what must be done to protect as many people as our hearts can reach.

In seeking that strength and resolve, there is no better source for the energy we need to sustain us on an ongoing basis than in the first principles of Jewish education whose essential task is the transmission – across all time – of the “manual” of a meaningful Jewish life that of course includes caring for the betterment of all humankind.

The clear-eyed, thoughtful insights of Rabbi Marc D. Angel, the founder of the New York-based Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals can help us. Some of the nuggets from his commentary on the two preceding Torah portions, can serve as guideposts to help us navigate through our many modern distresses, and to help us find the strength that comes from knowing who we are.

  • Jewish identity and values are not transmitted automatically.
  • Each individual must assume personal responsibility for the flourishing of Jewish life. Our homes should reflect our Jewish ideas and ideals, our traditions and our values.
  • We need the wisdom and commitment to create vibrant Jewish lives for ourselves, our families and for our entire community.
  • Setting up schools and study halls, creating an environment for religious learning and exploring, transmitting the essential ingredients for a happy and identified Jewish life, have been hallmarks of the Jewish people since earliest time.
  • We need to understand without any equivocation that Jewishness lives and is transmitted by means of memory, by feeling a living connection with our past. The study of history should lead us to expand our memories and our identification with our people’s past; it should help us to feel that we are part of the long chain of Jewish tradition.
  • We bring the past into the present; we project the present into the future. This is one of the great responsibilities of Jewish parents and grandparents—to imbue the younger generations with a sense of belonging to, and participating in, the history of our people.
  • To build a Jewish future is an ongoing challenge and responsibility. It is also an ineffable privilege, a source of infinite delight and a source of our deepest fulfillment as Jews.

The memories, traditions, values and the embrace of Judaism start in and emanate from the home. But community schools are where they are reinforced and come alive. Readers of this weekly update know, helping make those schools become more truly affordable to the majority of our young families is the task that GAJE has taken upon itself.

But as moral suasion has failed to move the Government of Ontario to end the discrimination in education funding in Ontario, we will seek a remedy from the courts. To that end, we hope to be able to announce early in the new year, the launch of the lawsuit seeking to compel the government to provide funding for independent Ontario schools as well.  

If you wish to help underwrite this lawsuit, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

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.

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Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

December 24, 2021

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