Just another quote by Rabbi Sacks, from the ‘Covenant & Conversation’ parasha commentary series, part Bo (5774) – The Far Horizon:
There is only one way to change the world, and that is by education. You have to teach children the importance of justice, righteousness, kindness and compassion. You have to teach them that freedom can only be sustained by the laws and habits of self-restraint. You have continually to remind them of the lessons of history, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” because those who forget the bitterness of slavery eventually lose the commitment and courage to fight for freedom. And you have to empower children to ask, challenge and argue. You have to respect them if they are to respect the values you wish them to embrace.
For a long time, I have been convinced that education is the only power that can truly change the world. And education is also the foundation on which to build a living, thriving Jewish community. Where I live, nearly my complete generation has been lost to Judaism and I attribute a lot of it to missing education. In my community, 90% of my generation came here from the former Soviet Union as children of parents who had no education in Judaism. The communities welcomed the growth, helped the families integrate into their new home country, helped with the paperwork, medical aid, etc. But due to the very small size of the original communities, no time and energy was left for religious education. The children who grew up here have as little attachement and knowledge of the religion as their parents who were forced to abandon it by the communists. The only young people in my community you see at services are converts or people who move here from other countries. This is so sad and I hope we can somehow reclaim at least part of them or their children!