Education is a Fundamental Jewish Value
June 14, 2018
Education has always been a fundamental Jewish value. Our Torah proclaims: “V’shinantam l’vanecha,” “You shall teach [the words of Torah] diligently onto your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Whether it was in the study halls of the rabbis in ancient Israel, in the cheder or yeshiva of Eastern European shtetls, or the Sunday School classrooms of the American suburban post-war congregation, we have transmitted our heritage from one generation to the next, imparting Jewish wisdom, guidance, knowledge and skills. Our tradition accords education such distinction that the Talmud deemed a teacher who taught Torah to another as though the teacher had brought the student to life.
We know how important education is to the modern American synagogue. It is one of the three core purposes for congregational life: study, prayer, and community. We have a tradition of educational excellence at Temple Beth El, in both our Nursery School and our Religious School. In recent years, as the field of Jewish education has continued to evolve, we have been focusing on revamping our Religious School educational programs. We launched K’ton K’nection for our kindergartners and 1st graders, bringing innovation to our youngest formal learners. We revamped Kadimah for our 8th-10th graders, offering learning tracks of different topics and increasing discussion and self-expression. And, most recently, for grades 3-6, we introduced Peirot, our pilot program for engaging, experiential Jewish living and learning.
The person most responsible for the success of our educational programs for the past five years has been Rabbi Beth Kramer-Mazer. With characteristic joy and enthusiasm, she has guided our community as our Director of Congregational Learning. Deeply committed to the engagement of each and every one of our families, Rabbi Beth has shared her love of Judaism in everything she has done. She has infused our schools with meaningful Jewish experiences and, in doing so, has helped shape the Jewish identity of this generation and the next.
As she concludes her time with our congregation, we honor Rabbi Beth at the Family Shabbat service at 6:45pm on Friday night. I hope you will join the community in thanking her for all she has taught us over the years and in wishing her well in her future endeavors.