Today is June 4, 2020 -
By Eadie Tsabari, Director of Congregational Learning
Summer has arrived and as we say farewell to another BESTT/Hebrew High school year, I need to double back and mention the most important people in the school.
You might think that I mean the students who come every week and participate in classes, filling the school with noise and music and making Beth El their home. You might think it’s the families that make the special effort to get their kids to Hebrew school during the week by carpooling, leaving work early, asking a neighbor to help with driving or somehow making sure their kids are in the building. Maybe it’s the Beth El staff, who agree to teach in our school, who keep our school clean, set up our classrooms and feed us at every moment.
All of the above are correct, however, my focus here is on the heart and soul of our school – our Beth El teachers. Being a Sunday/Hebrew/Hebrew High school teacher isn’t always an easy task. All of our teachers work part time or full time at other jobs. They have to arrange their schedules such that they take Wednesday afternoons off in order to come to our building. They spend their day off, on Sunday, coming to Beth El to teach your students. They sacrifice their free time to be teachers in our Talmud Torah. They are dedicated to teaching and passing on the words of Torah, to teaching Jewish history, to making sure our students know how to celebrate Jewish holidays and they teach a foreign language (Hebrew) – all in 4.5 hours each week. I think they are amazing! I think they are incredible! And just to make you appreciate them EVEN MORE, most of them don’t have their own children in the school. Now that’s dedication. In this new world of Zoom and virtual classrooms, our teachers stepped right up and made sure they were engaging your students. I hope you had the opportunity to hear them singing, having discussions with their classmates and participating in Jewish learning.
I had a conversation with someone that I taught/learned from at Beth El many years ago. She complimented her grandson’s teacher who she had the opportunity to watch via Zoom. She loved how engaged the kids were and how much her grandson enjoyed coming to Sunday school. My greatest joy was telling her that the teacher was one of our former students who has returned to Beth El to work in the school. This year, it has been my greatest joy to have four former students who have come home and are teaching at our school.
Whoever teaches his child teaches not only his child but also his child’s child – and so on to the end of generations.
Let’s make sure our teachers know how much they mean to us. Over the summer, drop a note or a card to your Sunday/Hebrew/Hebrew High teachers. Let them know how much you appreciate all they do. Make their day! They deserve it.