V’shinantam L’vanecha (Devarim 6:7)

by Arliene Botnick, January 26, 2022

Each week, after reciting the Sh’ma, we continue reciting the V’ahavta. Included in the V’ahavta are many of the mitzvot to which we are obligated. We are commanded to recite the Sh’ma when we lie down and when we rise up. The oneness of God are the last words we affirm as we go to sleep and the first words we say when we get up! In those passages, we are also told to inscribe those words on the doorposts of our houses and our gates. The word for doorpost is mezzuzah and that explains why we put a mezzuzah on our doorposts. Encased in the mezuzah is the claf, the small piece of parchment, handwritten by a scribe, containing those words from Devarim, identifying our home as a Jewish home. We are also commanded to bind these words as a sign upon our hand and a symbol on our forehead. For some in the Jewish community that is usually understood to mean to lay tefillin, the phylacteries. For us, in the Reform community, we understand those words to mean that we do, we act upon God’s words, put the words into actions and always have God‘s words in our minds and our thoughts. And also in this passage are the words that began this article: “you shall teach these words diligently to your children.”

Those words are the motto of Beit Sefer Solel. Those are the words that are the foundation on which our school was built and has flourished for almost 50 years. When we began Solel and started our school, there were no teachers in the area available to teach our children, so we looked to our community and we all realized that if we wanted a school, we would need to be the teachers! We were commanded to teach our own and so we did, from the very beginning. Parents were our teachers and many of them did a lot of studying themselves to be prepared for this opportunity and responsibility as teachers. Since our very beginnings, that is exactly the way our school has continued. The staff of Beit Sefer Solel to this day is our parents and grandparents and many young adults of our community. They model Jewish living; they teach Jewish concepts; they teach Hebrew; they train our Bar/Bat Mitzvah students. They fulfill the mitzvah of teaching our own!

But not all of you are teachers in our school, but all of you can be the teachers of the next generation. Every time, as a parent or a grandparent, or adult, you light Shabbat candles and say the blessings, you are teaching the next generation of children how to live Jewishly. Every time you give to Tzedakkah, you are teaching our children about their responsibility to help mend the world. Every time you attend a service or Jewish program, you model Jewish community.

As we are now approaching our 50th year, we need your help in making sure what we’ve accomplished continues to flourish and grow. As we look to Solel‘s future, we have to look at our future leadership, to those who will lead our board and executive, to those who will chair our committees or sit on our committees and for me, to those who are willing to walk into a classroom to assist teaching the next generation of Jews. We are blessed in having several of our young graduates tutoring for us and assisting in our classrooms right now in our virtual classrooms, but we are looking for more volunteers who would be willing to apprentice as teachers in Judaica and/or Hebrew and who might be interested as well in helping train our Bar/Bat mitzvah students. Let us fulfil the mitzvah of “teaching them diligently.” This ensures our Jewish future.

Keyn Y’hee ratzon – May it be God’s will

Filed under: Educator's Message

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