Torah and Jewish Values: Threads in the ECLC

The High Holidays are much anticipated and loved – and, crazy and chaotic all at the same time. No matter if they are ‘early’ or ‘late’, weekends or weekdays, they are always a change of pace – and a little disruptive right at the start of the school year. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur carry big themes and ideas, including a deep look at ourselves and how we can do better where we missed the mark in the past year. Sukkot follows right behind. Finally, Simchat Torah rounds out the four weeks.   

I love that Simchat Torah is last because Torah is not a one-day theme: Torah is with us all year long. Sure, the celebration may be contained to reading the end and then the beginning of the Torah all at once, but as we march through our lives, words of Torah can be with us day in and day out. 

Even if we don’t think consciously of it, the ‘rules’ we live by can be traced back to words of Torah. Torah tells us we are created “B’tzelem Eloheem,” (in Gd’s image). The Torah tells us how to live that way. Being kind, helping others, supporting those less fortunate are just a start to the list. Other actions fill the categories that are headed by Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Tzedakah (righteous giving) and Gemilut Chasadim (acts of kindness). We can look to Torah to offer suggestions on almost any challenge we face. 

In our Alexandria Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC), our rooms are ‘Jewish flavored,’ reminding us of our heritage and, in the words of the V’ahavta, we try to “teach them (Jewish values)  to our children.” We talk with our kids about Derech Eretz (good manners) and help our young friends think about the words they use with each other. Tikkun Olam is a thread through our year as we think about how our actions effect our classrooms, our community, and the world at large. We want to send our kids out into the world (or at least to Kindergarten) knowing how to think and ask questions—and how to treat each other with kindness and respect. It’s a tall challenge. It’s a good thing we have the Torah to guide us. And, because the Torah is so important—its nice that every once in a while, we celebrate its importance in our lives.

Chag Sameach!

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