In the article “Why Jewish education matters,” published in the Jewish Standard newspaper, Rabbi David J. Fine writes, “Jewish and American cultures share this essential value of education as a virtue, as a means of improving our basic humanity, and of making us better Jews or Americans ….
“In American culture, education was at first considered critical in order to prepare a populace to assume sovereignty as a democracy. In Jewish tradition, education is, at its highest form, a means of worship, an opportunity to engage with and celebrate Torah.”
In his article “Why the World Depends on Jewish Education in 2017,” published in the Jerusalem Post, Michael Laitman, founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute, writes, “For centuries, Jews have focused on education that would create thriving societies that contain mutual support, trust, and positive development.”
The following points from Laitman’s article are educational principles of Judaism that we can all incorporate into our daily lives:
• Unity and love are at the core of Judaism.
• People of different opinions can integrate together in love, unity and peace.
• Judaism is the study of how to “love others as yourself.” The people of Israel thrived in an atmosphere of mutual care.
• Judaism is steeped in teachings of how to treat each other, how to treat nature, animals and the world around us.
• Judaism teaches us to avoid criticism of others, and to help others through example, without coercion, as it is written: “Do not judge your fellow man until you have been in his position” (Pirkei Avot 2:5).
• Teachings are unique to each individual; every person should be allowed to fulfill their potential in the best possible way for the benefit of the whole.
• We are connected “as one man with one heart,” and care for one another in mutual guaranty.
• This method of connection helps humanity make the evolutionary leaps it must make.
• These principles demand practice, which often begins at a very young age and lasts throughout our lifetime.
• Foundations and practices of Torah that we maintain allow us to survive even the most difficult hardships.
• The path to actualize positive change must come through education and our willingness to grasp where our natural evolution is leading us.
PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She has served on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.