The Jewish Week is to be commended for highlighting the importance of Jewish education and the need for communal support both financially and in the respect that the community accords its educators. (“The Next Generation Of Jewish Sages,” Editorial, Nov. 23).
The editorial highlighted the wonderful annual educators’ awards bestowed by the Covenant Foundation on eight Jewish educators, three veterans and five emerging ones, highlighting the important status that they should hold in our community pantheon.
At the same time, there was a small discordant note in that seven of the eight individuals honored have the term “head” or “director” in their title. Administrators and directors of Jewish educational projects and institutions are absolutely critical to the success of the endeavor of Jewish education. However, so are the classroom teachers who form the backbone of the day-to-day reality of teaching our children. These are people like the third grade teacher who has been lovingly teaching young minds the stories of Abraham and Sarah for 25 years, the 10th grade rabbinics teacher who introduces adolescents to the intricacies of the Talmudic page and may go home every other night to mark and comment on 40 or 50 assignments, the eighth grade Jewish history teacher who inspires a student to pursue his or her Jewish heritage more seriously or the informal Jewish educator who writes sessions and programs for Shabbatonim and retreats.
A more balanced representation in the giving of awards, the choice of who speaks on panels discussing Jewish education and the like, will honor and show respect for all the various hard-working and devoted professionals who make up the world of Jewish education.