In a few days, we will observe Shavuot and celebrate the receiving of the Ten Commandments and ultimately our Torah; events which also represent the beginning of the Jewish people as a nation and religion. It is the holiday of Shavuot that reminds us of how important it is to know our story, our history and our traditions in order for the Jewish people to continue to thrive. A fundamental goal of education is to perpetuate a people’s culture, stories, knowledge and ideas. Only through knowledge and understanding can we fully appreciate Judaism and Israel. Only with knowledge and understanding can we uncover the joys of being Jewish.
This, of course, does not happen by osmosis. It takes a kehillah, and while it is the responsibility of parents to make sure their children learn Torah and to prepare their children for a life of living as a Jew, parents often look to teachers to help them to fulfill this sacred task.
We learn, “Just as the tent cannot stand without pegs and cords, so Israel cannot stand without teachers.” The Torah is the tangible link between the Jewish people and God. As such, our tradition has always placed the greatest value on learning so that we could come to understand all that our tradition contains, in order to live as Jews, to live our values, and to perform mitzvot.
Through the course of time, our Torah became much more than the Tanach. It not only included later Rabbinic texts, but according to one great commentator, Rambam, Torah is any pursuit of higher learning, as all learning reflects God’s world and creation. In many communities around the world, teachers are honored during this time of year for dedicating their lives to teaching Torah.
There is no doubt that Schechter Bergen teachers are the pegs and cords that sustain learning and promote intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth in our children each and every day. They are all teachers of Torah, regardless of the subject. As a community we have expressed gratitude several times this year to our teachers for their courage, love, and dedication as they came to school each and every day during the Pandemic. It wasn’t that they just showed up. Any parent who regularly reads Yesh and the teachers’ newsletters can’t help but be inspired by the depth of learning and level of engagement that continues in spite of the COVID restrictions.
Our teachers participated in a miracle this year by creating a sense of normalcy in a time that has been anything but normal. And so once again as an appreciative community, we recognize and honor our dedicated and talented teachers for continuing to teach Torah so lovingly under challenging conditions.
As we approach z’man matan torateinu, the time of the giving of our Torah, let’s rejoice in receiving this precious gift and express gratitude to all of our teachers who help to make this sacred text accessible to our children and to us so that we may learn, grow, and live as Jews with meaning and joy – l’dor v’dor – from generation to generation.