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  • Writer's pictureZack Bodner

Reignite our love of learning

This was back-to-school week for many of our kids, including mine. As my front porch piled up with amazon packages filled with notebooks, binders, pencils, backpacks and all the other new-school-year-essentials, my house vibrated with giddy anticipation. All three of my kids finally exhaled when the realization set-in that they’d be going back into their classrooms IN-PERSON. And my wife and I exhaled as well.

This is how it should be. Kids should LOVE going to school. They should LOVE seeing their friends. They should LOVE interacting with teachers. And they should LOVE learning.

For the past 18 months, by trying to keep our kids safe and healthy, we sacrificed so much – and so did they. One of our OFJCC preschool parents who’d pulled their son out last year due to COVID concerns, said they couldn’t wait to bring their child back to school because they heard him say the other day, “Alexa, will you play with me?”

Not only did socialization suffer deeply this past year, but the joy of learning suffered too. Learning became a chore, like washing the dishes or taking the dog for a walk. It was something you HAD to do, not something you WANTED to do.

But now that our kids are back in school, we have the opportunity to rejuvenate their love of learning, nay, the obligation to rejuvenate it! Learning is one of the most important Jewish values. The classroom has been an essential part of Jewish identity for centuries. Literacy is core to who we are, which is why we are nicknamed “The People of the Book.”

The Talmud tells us we must find two things in life: a teacher and a friend. As this new school year begins, let’s help our kids fulfill this commandment and reignite their love of learning.

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