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Graduation: Not the end, just the beginng

Friday, 10 June, 2011 - 11:28 am

This coming week we will watch our oldest daughter, Chaya Mushka graduate from elementary school. What is unique about her graduation is that it will be from two schools; Torah Academy, which she has attended since pre-school, and the Shluchim Office Online School (for more on that see earlier post at www.chabadneworleans.com/blog - entitled Technology & Spirituality, Compatible?), which she attended part-time this year. For families such as ours, for whom a proper Jewish education is of paramount importance, our daughter’s 8th grade graduation is bittersweet because it means that we will be sending her out of town for high school.

A graduation is also called commencement, which means a beginning. In his many letters and addresses to graduates, the Rebbe always makes the point that the graduation is the just the end of one stage in the education process that leads to the beginning of the next stage. This point is also emphasized when it comes to the conclusion of the Torah reading cycle, where we immediately begin reading it over again. In that sense one never really graduates from the education process as it is truly a lifelong experience.

The close proximity of the graduation to Shavuot is also a source of inspiration in this regard. Though the Torah was given 3323 years ago on the 6th of Sivan, 2448, yet we are instructed to see it as a constantly renewing process. When we make the blessing upon being called for an Aliyah we refer to G-d as Notain Hatorah, the Giver of the Torah in present tense, because the giving of the Torah is not a one-time deal. In the Shema it states, “these words which I command you today shall be upon your hearts.” “Today” applies to each and every day, assuring that “the words which I command you” remain fresh as if they were just spoken.

Although it is tough to be separated from your 14 year old child, we take comfort knowing that as parents we are doing the best thing for our child by ensuring that her Jewish education will be optimal, thus giving her the tools to live life by these ideals. We wish her much Hatzlacha in her continued growth and her newfound identity as a Beis Rivkah High School student.

Mazel tov to Sarah and Ilan Fuchs upon the birth of their son. May they merit to enter him into the covenant of Avraham and raise him to Torah, Chupah and good deeds.

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