Israel Forever

For the week ending 14 February 2009 / 20 Shevat 5769

Quenching the Thirst

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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"There is a thirst for knowledge, especially among our youth, and I expect you to quench that thirst."

Sounds like someone exhorting an Ohr Lagolah or Ner Le'elef class training to do outreach work that will bring young Jews back to a Torah life.

But the author of this statement was none other than Israel’s Minister of Education Yuli Tamir speaking half a year ago at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Reform Movement in Israel.

As Jews this Shabbat listen reverently to the reading of the Ten Commandments they can only wonder what connection there is between the Education Minister's choice of thirst quenchers and what our ancestors experienced at Sinai.

How right was MK Zevulun Orlev in criticizing Tamir for "misappropriating her powers" by making comments that "are more proof that she is trying to force on our education system the political agenda of Peace Now."

With such a person in charge of education in Israel there is little wonder that Israeli pupils made such a dismal showing in recent international tests.

On the Shabbat that we revisit Sinai it is important to remember that only through the Torah given at Sinai can we fulfill the true mission of Israel forever.

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