* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin (http://inthelandoftheJews.blogspot.com)
My sister-in-law Yehudit Moskovitz, an elementary school teacher in Ramla, wrote the following to me last night:
"School ended early yesterday in Israel and thousands of teachers went out to demonstrate because of their low salaries. I do not want to get into the details of this dispute but, in my opinion, there is something fundamentally wrong with this picture.
It's not teachers who need to demonstrate, but parents, children, and all those who care about education in Israel. And it’s not salaries that should be protested, but rather the status of teachers in general.
Salaries are merely a reflection of this status.
As soon as we assign proper value to a teacher's job, we will pay salaries and create working conditions commensurate with it".
We are approaching Shavuot, when it is customary to bring children to hear the Ten Commandments. Our sages relate that at the moment when God gave us the Torah, he wanted to be certain that we would keep it and asked us for guarantors.
Initially, the nation of Israel suggested our forefathers as guarantors. That is, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. This offer was not accepted. Afterwards, the children of Israel suggested that the elders would be the guarantors since they would teach Torah, or that the prophets would be the guarantors. Actually, they were telling God: Our elders and our spiritual guides will be the guarantors since they will be Torah instructors and ensure that it will be kept, but none of these offers were accepted.
Only when the people said *'Our children will be our guarantors'* was their offer accepted. And so God gave us the Torah. Why? Because the children, the next generation, the youth, they are the most important ones, they are the guarantors of our future. From the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai until today, throughout all our exiles, it has been clear that the children are the true guarantors of our future existence, and what is most important is to teach them. If only we can learn to appreciate those who teach them today."
Three bits of advice from Dr. Michael Abulafia
Some 10,000 women registered for a Mitchadshot (women's renewal) workshop held last night as a Zoom presentation in preparation for the festival of Shavuot. *Dr. Michael Abulafia*, child psychiatrist, spoke about education and teaching Torah, sharing three pieces of advice:
1. Above all, this is a generation that needs to be individually seen and counted. Even in this era of digital screens, we cannot give up on face-to-face interactions: to look into the eyes of our spouse, to bend down toward a child and really look at him. Everyone wants to feel seen, to know that he or she is important and occupies a special place.
2. Educate with pleasantness. These days, coercion leads to desertion. This generation wants to experience life with pleasantness and fun. At home, there will be the smell of delicious pasta cooking, children will notice their parents' enjoyment at listening to a Torah discussion in the background, and words will be spoken in a soft tone of voice. Children are searching for enjoyment and if they do not find it at home they will look for it outside in undesirable places.
3. We need to pay attention to our bodies. We speak about values and Torah but ignore the fact that the body is the tool upon which values and Torah depend. We need to sleep well, exercise well, breathe deeply, and know how to relax. We need to be concerned that the spirit will also find expression in the flesh. I see children and adults who are uptight and tense. Enough of this pressure already. Take a breather.
Thank you Dr. Abulafia and thanks to the thousands of women who participated in this event. Chag sameach.