To be a Builder of Jewish education a person must be innovative, think outside of the box, and be passionate about learning. Being Jewish means access to thousands of years of wisdom while interpreting the tradition to innovate for tomorrow. Our VBS students learn today to lead tomorrow and they are more successful because of the pride they develop in their Jewish heritage and the Jewish imperative upon them that they can make a difference starting today!
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BJE Builder - Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei, Head of School Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Day School
Learn today. Lead tomorrow. At VBSDS, Judaism roots all that we learn and teach. Being Jewish means access to thousands of years of wisdom while interpreting the tradition to innovate for tomorrow. Our students learn today to lead tomorrow and they are more successful because of the pride they develop in their Jewish heritage and the Jewish imperative upon them that they can make a difference starting today! Ancient Torah speaks its voice and we answer its call to learn and lead, today and tomorrow.
Our Etz Chaim Learning Center values the importance of creating a Jewish community for students who attend secular schools. We are committed to giving students a chance to experience and “do Judaism.” This happens in the classroom, yard, tefillah, shirah, family programs, school programs, holidays and Synagogue events. We strive for our students to leave our school as confident and knowledgeable individuals. We want our students to go out in to the world with a strong Jewish identity and seek out organizations or groups that represent their values.
Jewish education creates a quiet confidence in our students and shapes the future of our community and the world. Children internalize from a young age the importance of welcoming the stranger, engaging in acts of loving kindness, and viewing the world through a social justice lens. A builder of Jewish education has feet that are firmly planted in the rich traditions, values, and practices of Judaism and their sights focused on the future.
Jewish education provides our young people the space to learn about their heritage and culture, to understand themselves as individuals and as part of a larger community. This enables them to build their desire and capacity to serve others, to develop strong values that will allow them to make good decisions and develop healthy relationships in their lives, to build their leadership skills so that they may take an active role in making the world a better place, and to know that wherever they may be in the world, they have a community.
Each year, at Hanukkah, I reflect on the story beyond the story. In the face of the pervasive power of Hellenism, a popular uprising in Judea, led by the Maccabees, succeeded in pushing back Syrian-Greek forces, rededicating the Temple and establishing a dynasty that governed Judea for a century. Yet, self-rule – much of the time characterized by internal conflict -- under that dynasty lasted only a century and, a century beyond that, the Temple was destroyed by the Romans.
What do you think it means to be a Builder of Jewish education?