Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
Rabbi Andrew Bloom recently shared his thoughts on Ahavath Sholom’s participation in the Read2Win program at Westcliff Elementary:
“In Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis we read that ‘man is created in the image of God,’ (Genesis 1:26) and from this we can interpret that since God is the God of creation, we as human beings are now partners in the ongoing creation/evolution of the world.
“One of the essential elements of creation is an environment for education. For education is the foundation of both an individual’s and society’s future. Education is so important that the Talmud teaches us, ‘He who teaches a child is as if he had created it.’ (Talmud, Sanhedrin 19b) In other words, we are creators of the mind.
“Yesterday (March 30), 21 volunteers from Congregation Ahavath Sholom partnering with Read2Win and Westcliff Elementary School went through orientation in preparation for our volunteers to complement the ‘holy work’ that teachers do in the classroom by supplementing, reading and mentoring 44 first-graders on a weekly basis. Thus strengthening their literacy capabilities. We will begin our tutoring next week.
“There are 37 out of 83 elementary schools in the FWISD that participate in the Read2Win program and according to the Read2Win leadership ‘this is only the second or third time that the entire need of a school has been covered by a faith based organization at its initial training.’ This is something of which we should all be proud. I feel truly blessed to be the rabbi of Ahavath Sholom.
“Our entire congregation can continue to make a difference in the lives of a child and there will be additional exciting opportunities to partner with Westcliff Elementary on top of the Read2Win program.
“I look forward to sharing those with you in the near future.
“I would like to add onto L’Dor V’Dor ‘from generation to generation’ to now include ‘from reader to reader.’ ”
— Submitted by Michael Linn
Teacher appreciation and Jewish pride go hand in hand at Beth El
At Beth El Congregation, Sunday, April 2, wasn’t only a Teacher Appreciation, but also a day of Jewish pride. The religious school held a beautiful 45-minute ceremony where teachers marched onto the red carpet into the sanctuary and sat on the bima. Children gave them flowers, gifts and told them thank you in many languages.
After the ceremony, everyone returned to their classes, where the lesson centered on a very important question: Why should we be proud to be Jewish?” The day culminated in the Great Hall all together for a family Jewish identity project, which was a huge success. The Israeli artist Piven’s unique technique was a jumping off point to communicate Jewish ideas and Jewish pride.
— Submitted by Ilana Knust