Last week, in time for the first day of school in Israel, Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu said that he wants to launch an "education revolution" in the State of Israel educational system. He explained his two prong approach to achieve this:
Excellence: to encourage all students to achieve their best and live up to their potential and
Zionism: the greater study of the Hebrew Bible to instil within students a greater appreciation of the Land of Israel.
I found this approach especially relevant having just returned from an amazing trip to Israel. I found that I appreciated all the special places that I visited - specifically because - I understood the background and history of each place. For example, I stood at the foot of the Shiloach Spring and pondered how this was the very spot that King Solomon was anointed as king according to our Tanach. I stood on a tall mount in the Palestinian area of Shuafat (or Givah, according to the Tanach) and considered how beneath the ruins lay King Saul's ancient palace built prior to the first Temple!
You see, the next generation of Jews will only appreciate the land and State that they have, if they are connected to our heritage and history as told in our Hebrew Bible. An "education revolution" is crucial to installing identity, uniting our nation and is the greatest weapon against our enemies seeking our destruction.
In Mount Sinai, we too are inspired by this message. We understand that only if our students learn to love learning and in particular, Jewish customs, values and traditions, will they grow up proud of their Jewish identities and keen to see Judaism as centre stage in their lives.
But even this is not enough. To instil this passion our youth need to see this 'revolution' in their homes as well. So as we approach the HHDs let's consider what we can do to bring more Torah and heritage in to our lives.
Rabbi Yossi Friedman