Let’s talk about Teaching and Learning

Between Us

Here are three ways to Make It Yours this week:

  • Satisfy your Jewish learning appetite at ROUTES on Sunday, November 2.
  • Come to JFNA’s General Assembly at the National Harbor from November 9-11.
  • See how you can Make It Yours with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Good morning,

As you read these words, I am in Israel for meetings and looking forward to Shabbat dinner tonight with the Federation’s First Timers Mission, chaired by Bob and Holly Bloom. The mission participants are having extraordinary experiences, including Masada, Tel Aviv and just yesterday, meeting Lone Soldier Johnny Sayag, a Washingtonian who fought in this summer’s Gaza conflict. There’s nothing like seeing Israel for the first time, or, through the eyes of first timers.

Here in Jerusalem, and throughout the world, we mourn the death of 3 month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, killed by a terrorist who drove his car at high speed into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill light rail station. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin eulogized Chaya: “We are standing before a tiny, silent body, before a small grave, standing against haters and murderers whose hands slaughter without distinction, without mercy.”

Jerusalem is preparing for Shabbat, and soon – at the appointed hour – there will be an abrupt calm that is unique to this holy city. Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote, “The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time.”

I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to study with Heschel, to hear him speak, to learn from him. What an extraordinary teacher; what extraordinary impact!

For millennia, teaching, learning and education have been central to Jewish life, tradition and heritage. In Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of Our Fathers, Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya says, “Make for yourself a teacher and acquire for yourself a friend….

On Sunday, November 2, at American University from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and its Department of Jewish Life and Learning present ROUTES – an extraordinary day of teaching, learning and community building.

If you’ve been to ROUTES before, you know of its ability to ignite – or reignite – a passion for Jewish education in adults throughout the community. If you haven’t been, this is the year for you to come: there will be 70 sessions over 7 hours showcasing Jewish learning at its most fun, most original, most spiritual and most inspiring.

Register online now and plan on joining us.

Our goals are to expose community members to myriad ways of engaging in Jewish learning and to highlight extraordinary local educators and community programs and encourage participants to continue learning.

Who knows, you might even acquire for yourself a new friend!

Shabbat Shalom,

Steven A. Rakitt, Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]