BY RABBI MICHAEL LAPIDUS / AJT //
Contemporary Jewish education is a generative endeavor: It’s about creating something that doesn’t yet exist.
The “something” is nothing less than a new society or, more simply stated, a better world, which contemporary Jewish education is tasked with producing.
What aren’t we trying to do?
We’re not trying to perpetuate the status quo. We’re not trying to resuscitate an ancient past, nor a mythic one.
We’re not trying to impart some specific or esoteric knowledge or dogma to a new generation with the hopes that they won’t let it fade away. We’re not cultivating a generation of complacent and unquestioning followers of fashion.
What are we trying to do?
At The Alfred and Adele Davis Academy, we’re trying to improve the future. We’re trying to pour old wine into new bottles, and we’re creating new varietals.
We’re innovating, improvising, visioning, challenging, reinventing, discarding, sifting, shifting and grappling. We’re starting with the end in mind and challenging one another to get there.
Creating a society requires chutzpah. It also requires patience, humor, grit and teamwork. The good news is that each step we take toward our goal strengthens us to take subsequent steps.
The students that we are challenging today will be the parents we are partnering with tomorrow. The required “long view” in such boundless and invigorating work must be achieved through many incremental steps.
Eventually, the world we are trying to create and the world in which we live will start to resemble one another. At that point, we can truly point to Jewish education and say, “That’s tikkun olam.”
Rabbi Micah Lapidus is the director of Jewish and Hebrew studies at the Alfred and Adele Davis Academy.