A Partnership

I spent the better part of this past Wednesday talking to a group of young adults about Ta’anit Esther. I was surprised to learn that the group tally for those invested in fasting was sadly below 50% (the tally for completing the fast, the percentage was much lower). Some of my students showed their disinterest by walking into their first period class or around the hallways, holding a cup of coffee from Chock or Dunkin.
This shocked me because for the past two weeks the Halakha and Talmud teachers were teaching Sugyoth directly related to the halakhot of Ta’anit Esther and the Holiday of Purim.
There is a disconnect between what we teach in class and how the students indentify with those ideas. The level of buy-in, is hardly a given. No matter how well certain students perform on their Jewish Studies exams, the level of commitment to Jewish practice is often not commensurate. I assure you that this situation in not limited to a school. I have heard anecdotal evidence from my colleagues from Jewish Day Schools across the globe.
That’s where YOU come in, the parents and grandparents. In the end, it comes down to this, are the students hearing the same message about a commitment to our religion in both school and at home?
As a teacher I have come to realize, that I can’t do it without YOU. No matter how inspirational I am in class, no matter how well my students do on their exams. It wont matter, unless they see their parents and grandparents, living a committed Jewish life to Torah, Misvoth and Customs (Minhagim).
I tried to get my students to realize, that if they don’t see themselves as a responsible link in the chain of our great religion of Judaism, it is very possible that down the road, there won’t be any chain at all.
I ask you the same question. What have you as parents and grandparents tried in order to instill a level of commitment in the next generation. I would like to know.

Rabbi Moses Haber moehaber@gmail.com

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The Joy of Quiet

Dear Friends,

I thought you might be interested in the article The Joy of Quiet.

Yes, I know it’s anachronistic to say that we are being overrun by technology and it is leading us down a road that might lead to nowhere. But, as you know I rarely have views that sync with pop-culture anyway.

Over the past several months I have begun to limit (ever-so-slightly) my use of technology. Not going to sleep with an Ipad by my side has been difficult, made easier by knowing that my phone charging a few feet away can access the same information with just a bit more eyestrain.

Teaching in High School I see hands on the change that tech is having on the youth. While there are many positives to having the world at your fingertips, the ability to focus, have patience, and think critically are not one of them.

We need to think preemptively on how we are going to be able to filter the use of this technology and our kids reliance on it, if we are going to stay ahead of the curve. The question is whether we are willing to make the tough choice to do so. Just imagine the complaining your going to get when you turn off the wifi in the house after 10:00.

Anyway, it’s time to tackle this issue head on. Wifi, the ipad and texting are not so ‘old’ that we can’t develop some strategy to limit its hold on our world.

Please take the time to read the article below. I await your comments.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-quiet.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&pagewanted=all

Moses D. Haber

Life is Good!

Lekh Lekha

In this weeks parasha, Abraham fulfills the missva of pidyon shebuiim (redeem a captive) by going to war against those Kings who took Lot. What do you think Abaraham would do if another Israeli is taken captive?