By Laura Seymour
I have many favorite websites (besides Amazon!) and one of them is called ejewishphilanthropy.com. It is not just about giving money — it is really about building community.
Jewish education is on our minds as our children are starting school and many adult Jewish education opportunities are beginning.
This past week, I read (and copied) what I hope will be a new prayer for me as a teacher and I will pass it on.
The concept of school is not an ancient or a natural one: learning happened in community and lessons were passed down from the elders to the learners.
On the other hand, teaching is a natural phenomenon. We are born to teach others (although some are more gifted at it). We teach in everything we do and say, with an emphasis on the “doing.” Every one of us is a teacher and role model and the lessons we pass on may be “do this” or they may be “don’t do this.”
Judaism is all about teaching and learning for life. We are teaching in order to pass on our traditions, but mostly we are teaching how to live. We pass on our values along with the food we pass at the table!
Here is the commitment piece that touched my mind and my soul and reminded me what are true purpose is. It comes from rabbi and educator Micah Lapidus (you can Google him) and was posted on ejewishphilanthropy.com.
As an educator I’m renewed in my sense of purpose and I’m ready to get to work
As an educator I believe that I’m participating in one of the most powerfully redemptive undertakings there is: building lives.
As an educator I’m driven to make sure that the world I leave to my students is better than the world that currently awaits them.
As an educator I’m comforted in knowing that I have the capacity, along with all my fellow educators, to help uncover the empathy, imagination, drive, creativity and humanity in my students.
As an educator I’m emboldened to the point of righteous indignation because I know that I’m part of the solution, that I hold the hope, and that the work is constantly unfolding.
Many years ago, I was at a conference for JCC Jewish educators. The leader said to us that everyone who works at the J is a Jewish educator — we must remember that everything we do is teaching Jewish values.
So each of us say, “I’m a Jewish educator and I teach swimming,” or “I’m a Jewish educator and I take care of payroll.” And, each of you must say the same thing — “I’m a Jewish educator and I…” Keep on teaching!
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.