As Jewish educators, we are responsible for helping our students discover who they are, and how they might serve the Creator in this world in their own unique way. If we do our job well, we see students carry on the eternal Jewish values that serve the community and the world at large. If we fail to do our job well, we turn students off to their Jewish roots.
The saintly Maggid of Mezrich had a follower named Reb Zusha of Hanipol who was humble in spirit but great in every other way. The story is told that Reb Zusha agonized over whether he would be accepted into Heaven. He worried that he didn’t do enough in his life with the gifts he was given. He taught that when he reached Heaven, and the Heavenly court was faced with his case, they would ask him not if he was like Moses, but if he was truly Reb Zusha.
The lesson we learn from this is that each one of us has to live up to our own potential, not that of someone else. Each soul is precious and has a unique task.
Today I met Debby Jacoby in a Starbucks in Santa Monica. The ocean breeze refreshed us as we shared our experiences as learners, parents of learners, and JEDcampers. We know from experience what it is like to be disappointed by educators who do heir best but fail to see the learners as precious souls with outstanding gifts. We are definitely kindred spirits (thank you Anne of Greene Gables.) Debby and I not only share the same name, we share a passion for providing every Jewish child the opportunity to discover their genius and authentic connection to being Jewish.
Thank you for encouraging me to make JEDcamp a reality in Los Angeles Debby!
Here is a link to an article about Reb Zusha: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zusha_of_Hanipol