Three weeks ago, in his Dvar Torah for parshat Emor, Rabbi Jarrod Grover of Congregation Beth Tikvah spoke on the subject of rethinking public education. His presentation was substantive and timely and worthy of sharing with GAJE supporters and followers. It is especially appropriate to do so, on the eve of the holiday of Shavuot, the communal celebration of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai.
The holiday begins this evening. It has always been associated with Jewish education for it is only through such education that we can fulfill the obligation – and our promise – to teach the laws, customs, traditions, ethics, folkways, and all their underlying values – to our children. And it is only by fulfilling our obligation – and promise – to educate our children that we can imbue them with aspects of the breadth and depth of those laws that were ordained at Mount Sinai and that have evolved in the subsequent 3500 years in order to anchor our mission to help perfect an imperfect world.
And so, we bring to readers’ attention to some of the key thoughts from Rabbi Grover’s Shavuot-appropriate, deeply relevant, message to his congregation three weeks ago.
“I believe very strongly that Jewish day school education is the best tool I have at my disposal for instilling Jewish identity in my children, and ensuring Jewish continuity. I believe that it is my right as a Canadian parent to educate my children in my particular religious tradition. And I believe that it is unacceptable that in our province, Catholic education is fully funded to the exclusion of all other religious groups.
“But I also believe that Ontario, and Canada, needs a strong public education system with schools that educate students to contribute to the common good in various different ways. We should all want that. And we should all be concerned that so many parents feel that our system is not meeting their needs…..
“In our diverse and heterogeneous country, one-size-fits-all solutions for public education will become increasingly difficult to sustain, and increasing inappropriate for the needs of our children and their parents. ….
“[W]e in the Jewish community have a tremendous opportunity to partner with parents across the province in the rethinking of public education. We ought to support every effort to fund Jewish day schools, including the recent lawsuit being brought against the province. … But we ought also to set our sights higher – towards public funding for all schools – for all the diverse educational institutions that have been established so as to correspond to the diverse preferences of the people who live here. All schools – religious and secular, Catholic and independent, ought to be considered public schools that contribute to the public good, and to the development of a next generation of workers, neighbours, and voters with whom we will live and on whom we will depend to build a flourishing society. No parent should be forced to compromise their values and/or their finances in order to achieve a meaningful expression of their rights. This is a principle all of us can get behind.”
The Minister of Education ought to hear Rabbi Grover’s compelling message about Ontario’s educational system. Indeed, all Ontarians should. Its essential truth is one of fairness and justice. We agree with Rabbi Grover. “It is unacceptable in our province, that Catholic education is fully funded to the exclusion of all other religious groups.”
If you wish to contribute to GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness in educational funding, 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.
Chag Shavuot samayach. Shabbat shalom
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
May 25, 2023