Welcome to our distinguished educators and guests who are joining Beit Tikvah congregants for the Education Shabbaton this Shabbat
From the Rabbi’s Desk -Parashat Toldot:
Rashi’s comments on behavioural patterns of Esau prior to the latter’s thirteenth birthday speak volumes about mistaken educational perceptions that can indeed mark or stain a young person even years later. Though Esau as a young person does not model proper protocols of behaviour except in his respect for his father, those who observehim attribute any malfeasance to normal child activity. The fact that he rebels against his upbringing, and is willing to cavalierly sell his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup, indicates that some element is missing in his training, no matter how good his mentors, namely his parents are.
It is an element that cannot be taught by rote, or through technology. It is not found in books, and though it is a cardinal principle of Judaism, our ancient writings can only allude to it, but not ensure that it is being adopted. That element is neshama, a spirit, that emphasizes the affective, though is intrinsically connected to the cognitive, namely, Torah study.
The power of the message of Torah becomes that more predominantly felt when it is accompanied by the spirit of neshama. Without it, many falter and abandon the ways of Torah for other vistas and values. Torah study becomes an intellectual exercise bereft of feeling and passion. Without neshama, our prayers become meaningless.
In an educational context, the inception of neshama comes through the introduction of ruach engendered through the inspiration of an animated teacher whose words of instruction are words of music in the ears of his or her students. It comes through the use of actual music and dance in addition to intellectual pursuit of Torah studies. It comes through the realization that there are different pathways to reach Hashem, and each child must find his or her niche and position on that road of Jewish life. It comes through the inspiration of dedicated teaching and administrative staffs that hope to ensure and preserve our faith and heritage.
This Shabbat, we welcome two distinguished educators who have recently arrived in Ottawa, Dr. Jon Mitzmacher, Head of School of the Ottawa Jewish Community School, and Rabbi Eleazar Durden, principal of Torah Day School. Both bring varied experiences in Jewish education, and we are privileged to have both of them participate in our educational symposium called, “Challenges in Jewish Education in the 21st Century”. All are invited to attend this important event in our congregation, which will take place at Shabbat lunch. I look forward to greeting all of you.
Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School and co-founder of edJEWcon. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools. He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network. He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center. He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.
Rabbi Eleazar Durden grew up and finished schooling in New Zealand, followed by 8 years yeshiva learning in Israel. After a brief 3 year term as a pulpit Rabbi in Cardiff, Wales, he entered the field of education, and for the past 25 years has taught in positions in New Haven, CT, Southfield, MI, Vancouver, BC, and now Ottawa, ON. For the last 22 of those years, involved in the administration of the schools, firstly as assistant principal, then as Principal of Judaic Studies, finally as Principal.
Donations: * General Donations: $18
* Siddurim: Koren/Artscroll $50
* Koren Talmud Bavli: $100
* Wall of Honour/brick: $118
CHANUKAH GIFT FAIR: Sunday, November 26th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm SJCC
Celebrating the Contributions of Canada’s Jewish Scientists:As the SJCC continues to celebrate Canada’s Best at 150, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, Professor of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal and Director of the McGill Office for Science & Society, will discuss some of the monumental achievements and contributions of a number of Canadian Jewish scientists. SJCC, November 26 from 1:30PM – 3:00PM Cost$ 10.00