Today is May 24, 2019 -

Learning New Things in the New Year

by Amy Dworin,
Director, Youth Engagement

I decided to write this month’s article about the start of BESTT and Hebrew High coinciding with the start of the Jewish New Year. So I did what all great (lazy) writers do, I turned to the internet! When I googled “Jewish quotes about education” there were over 20 million hits. Aside from showing me that I need to get better at clarifying my search terms and be more creative when writing Kol articles, it reinforced an idea that generations of Jews have known to be true: we are a religion that emphasizes education to the point where Judaism and learning are inextricably intertwined.

The wonderful thing about my job is that learning can mean so many different things. Sure, the kids go to Torah Tots, BESTT and Hebrew High. However, this passion for education extends into adulthood. Whether it’s learning to bake at Strudel School, Sunday morning Torah study, a lecture with a Scholar-in-Residence or a class taught by clergy and congregants, Beth El provides ample opportunities for us to broaden our horizons and learn new things.

However, some of the most meaningful things I have learned while at Beth El have come from my interactions with the people I meet. As Simeon Ben Zoma says, “Who is wise? He who learns from every person” (Pirkei Avot, 4:1). This is especially true in my work with the younger members of our congregation. My encounters with the Beth El teens have challenged me to be more creative, encouraged me to clarify my beliefs, forced me to interact in more meaningful ways and taught me to Floss Dance. Spending time with people who are just starting to engage with the world makes trying something new seem like the natural choice, and makes learning something new very easy.

May your New Year be full of health, happiness, love, and learning. I am looking forward to learning with and from each of you.