We have already moved past the story of the Exodus from Egypt in the reading of the weekly Torah portions. Of course, daily Jewish life is such that we never move past that story. Indeed, it is the defining centre of our identity as a people. We recall it each day, every day, in our prayers. Each year we set aside a special holiday to commemorate that truly revolutionary story and to try to imagine ourselves there some 3,500 years ago at the fearful, awesome departure from Egypt to the equally fearful, awesome encampment around Mt. Sinai.
The late Rabbi Jonathan Stacks observed about Judaism that our key “stories are not engraved in stone on memorials, magnificent though that is. They are told at home, around the table, from parents to children as the gift of the past to the future. That is how storytelling in Judaism was devolved, domesticated, and democratised.”
Rabbi Sacks pointed to the story of the Exodus, especially as told on Pesach at the Seder table, as “the collective story that tells us where we came from and what our task is in the world. ” That task, he makes clear over and over again in his magnificent body of writing, is to build a society and a world that are moral. Thus, in his usual, precise manner, Rabbi Sacks has provided a thumbnail single sentence summary of the purpose of Jewish life and the purpose of Jewish education.
Rabbi Marc D. Angel makes the same point as Rabbi Sacks when he writes – as we have shared before in this space – “Our continuity as a people is inextricably linked to our historical memory. 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.”
And he shares Rabbi Sacks’ conclusion about the reason we participate in the history of our people, namely, to build a society and a world that are moral.
But our uniquely Jewish stories cannot be retold around the table at home, nor can the past be brought into the present without meaningful Jewish education that is affordable to all the parents who seek such education for their children. Helping to make such education affordable is GAJE’s purpose.
We must do our utmost to achieve that goal. However, we will never be able to say to our children and to our grandchildren that we did, in fact, our utmost unless we attempt to compel the government to change the unconscionable education funding policy that favours one religion to the exclusion of all others.
GAJE is planning to go to court to try to do that very thing. If you wish to help underwrite this lawsuit, 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.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),
February 4, 2022