Shabbat Message - August 31

Posted on Aug 31, 2012

Kelly Gable-LaBelle, Division Director, Early Childhood Services
August 31, 2012 13 Elul, 5772

All parents want their children to learn and practice the values of kindness, respect and responsibility. The JCC’s Early Childhood Development Center focuses on these values through An Ethical Start, a curriculum based on Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), a source of timeless Jewish wisdom. Teachers, families and children explore the text together at different levels, creating a foundation for lifelong learning, social development and spiritual growth from a Jewish perspective.

Unit 4, “It’s about me and my community,” examines Chapter 2, Mishna 5 Hillel Omer in which Hillel says, “Do not separate yourself from the community.” Pirkei Avot teaches us the value of being part of a community: We grow ethically by contributing to our communities and drawing strength from their resources and support.

Traditionally, a community has meant a group of people who share a social arena, are bound by common customs and values, and are aware of each other’s needs, sufferings and joys. Community has been essential in Jewish life because so much of Jewish ritual and culture cannot be given full expression in the absence of community.

Our teachers ask the children questions such as, “What does the term community mean?” “How do we choose or become a part of a community?” Some of the answers—“We take turns on the climbing bars;” “At my school, everyone learns to swim”—seem simple at first glance. However, when we look deeper, they encapsulate what many of us are looking for in our adult worlds— the sense of connection and knowing that you are a part of something that is meaningful physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

We hope you enjoy the warmth of our community and the richness of Jewish life.
Shabbat Shalom

Read previous Shabbat Messages here.