2018-08-15 / Editorial

Jewish education is a pursuit meant to last an entire lifetime

This edition of the Voice features our annual Back-to-School issue. It highlights the offerings available to area children from synagogues, day schools, the JCC, the Jewish Federation, and other community organizations. With the school year just around the corner, it is natural to focus on the Jewish educational opportunities available to children and teenagers. Jewish tradition, however, views education as a lifelong pursuit. As Jews, we never stop learning.

It is no coincidence that Jews have been known historically as the “People of the Book.” The study of Jewish texts has guided us in our daily lives since the birth of our people. Archaeologists have determined that literacy was widespread in ancient Israel over 2,500 years ago. At that time, the ability to read and write was confined to only the very few in almost every other civilization. Even through the Middle Ages, a majority of people in most countries could not read and write. This was not true of the Jewish people. We have prized learning.

As we get our children ready for the school year, let’s not forget to include a little adult education in our plans. Courses, lectures, and other avenues of Jewish education are available for people of all ages throughout the year. Synagogues offer Torah study groups and classes on different Jewish topics. The Katz JCC features the Saltzman Foundation Lifelong Learning Institute, as well as the annual Bank of America Festival of Arts, Books & Culture. The Jewish Community Relations Council educates on Israel. The JCRC’s Esther Raab Holocaust Museum and Goodwin Education Center teaches about the Holocaust and its lessons for today. And don’t forget the pages of this newspaper. Check out our Torah portion column in every issue and learn about what’s happening locally, in Israel, and around the Jewish world. These are just a few of the many venues where Jewish education for adults is happening in our community.

Don’t forget to seek out Jewish books at the library or buy them in a bookstore or online. Browse the Internet on any Jewish topic. Read articles and listen to lectures online. Today, learning does not need to be confined to the classroom.

Judaism instructs us to teach our children, so that they might live a Jewish life. It also reminds us never to stop learning. “Let your home be a meeting place for sages,” says Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers, Chapter 1, Verse 4). Good advice as summer’s waning days lead into the High Holidays. s

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