At Robbins Hebrew Academy, it is our job to teach our 21st century students the value of a 5774 year old culture and guide them into their future. How do we do this? We do it the same way that our people have survived for 5774 years and that our religion has survived through the ages– through education, creative thinking and innovation, concepts even more compelling in the modern world.
Our students are the torch bearers of our religion. They carry it forward, but can only do so with an understanding of our great and often sorrowful history. After not centuries, but MILLENIA of persecution in 1948 the land of Zion was returned to the children of Abraham and Sarah. First and foremost, the creation of Israel ensured that all Jews would have a place to go in the face of persecution and that the holy places in our religion would be accessible to our people. Israel is the only nation on earth where Judaism is the majority religion and the experience of every child in Israel is much different than that of our Canadian Jewish children.
According to the world’s most ground breaking educator, Tony Wagner, the most successful people are those who had adults in their lives who nurtured their critical thinking skills, creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failure and to persevere. Wagner shows how both parents and educators can develop cultures of innovation based on collaboration, problem solving and motivation. How do you create a culture of innovation? Tony Wagner says that it comes from critical thinking and curiosity so we must challenge students by asking good questions and encouraging them to ask good questions. We must also ignite a passion for learning in order to motivate our students to understand more deeply.
Collaboration begins with listening to and learning from others who have perspectives that are very different from one’s own. It encourages action and experimentation as well as discussion and vision.
Our Critical Challenge/Innovation Israel Engaged Fair is one of the ways in which we are providing a forum for our students to reflect on the history of the Jewish religion and culture and to find relevancy for it in the modern world. It is also an opportunity for our students to connect to their counterparts in Israel and to explore their very different experiences of Judaism. As you know, throughout our long history, many have attempted to eradicate our people and, although the world has changed, that danger is no less real. Israel continues to triumph, but there is constant danger on every border. It Is imperative that the global Jewish community continues to embrace Israel and we hope that through the study of Israel today connected to our Canadian General and Judaic Studies that there will be new means of ensuring our survival as a people and Israel’s survival as a nation.