Amy Katz, Executive Director of Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), sends the following message entitled "The Art of Sharing the Burden":
During Rosh Hashanah, we gather together to pray. Why? Why not engage in solitary high-holiday contemplation? To quote Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:10: “A community is too heavy to carry alone.” At PEJE, we read this as a commentary about our shared responsibility for day schools. About the value of collaborative action in sustaining our day schools.
We cherish our relationships—with communities, school leaders, day school networks, funders—because we know that Jewish education is always a group effort. By providing expertise, knowledge, and support to our partners in the field, we remind all of our mutual responsibility. We congregate before God on Rosh Hashanah, knowing the power of the collective to seek and achieve repentance.
The quote from Deuteronomy is the inspiration for Ivan Chermayeff’s vibrant poster, from the Voices & Visions Masters Series collection, which we recently sent to Jewish day schools across North America. The 18 posters were a Rosh Hashanah gift from the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The poster is accompanied by a superb commentary by Daniel Gordis (each poster features a smart, thematically appropriate essay). “In Jewish life, we seek religious satisfaction, insight, truth and closeness to God not in solitary moments, but in engagement with others,” writes Gordis. “Jewish tradition says that it is in the muddy, complex, fraught world of human relations and shared responsibility that God’s presence can be brought into our lives.”
Gordis is right. We must engage others to find God. So let us follow suit and meet the challenges of the New Year with our collaborative strength.
Our prayer is that we’re all fortified in the coming year through our communal efforts dedicated to sustaining and growing the Jewish day school field.
Shanah tova u’metukah!