Chodesh Tov and welcome to the month of Cheshvan. Chesvan is the only month in the Jewish calendar with no festival or day of religious significance. For this reason, the month is sometimes known as Marchesvan, with the addition of the Hebrew word for bitter (Mar). Yet this also gives us some breathing space after the intense month of Tishrei with its many festivals, and gives us a chance to reflect on the bigger picture of our Jewish identities and work in the community.
The Jews have been known for generations as “The People of the Book”, and the ancient Greeks, puzzled by the phenomenon of an entire people dedicated to learning, called Jews “a nation of philosophers.” At the inception of Jewish history, as the Israelites finally gained their freedom, rather than reflect on freedom, or look toward the Promised Land, God chose to impart the core value of study to the Israelites, and instructed Moses to command the people to become a nation of educators. This meta-value has always included self-education in the form of Talmud Torah (the mitzvah of Torah study). In the Talmud, this mitzvah is elevated above all others, and is compared to both oxygen and water, suggesting it is essential in the life of the Jew. It has often been claimed without exaggeration that the secret of Jewish continuity through hundreds of generations of adverse diaspora history can be attributed to the elevated status given to Torah study and education.
In Jewish civilization Torah study has never been limited to the young. Lifelong Jewish learning is the very definition of the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. Jewish learning “lishma” (for its own sake) is seen as critical for each Jew to continue their personal Jewish journey, whether this be religious, spiritual, intellectual or cultural. Those who are charged with sustaining and growing their Jewish communities are encouraged to continuously strive to deepen their connection to Jewish wisdom and values, leading to a more inspired professional whose work will be more deeply infused with Jewish values and wisdom.
For the Jewish community professional, lifelong Jewish learning has several further benefits such as professional rejuvenation and reinvigoration, the development of a learning and growth mindset, leading to flexibility and creativity, and the ability to frame their work and articulate the Jewish purpose behind their work. The work of maintaining and renewing Jewish life needs to be continuously infused with purpose, and this can be achieved through ongoing opportunities to study, which will inspire individual Jewish growth, and serve as a reminder why community work matters.
For these reasons Yesod is committed to providing Jewish community professionals and educators in Europe access to Jewish learning opportunities.
Jewish Learning Consultation
Reach out to us to arrange a Jewish Learning Consultation, a conversation (of approximately 30 minutes) with Daniel Rose, Yesod Director of Educational Programming. The aim of this conversation is to get to know you as a Jewish community professional and/or Jewish educator, to understand the role Jewish learning plays in your personal and professional life, to identify your Jewish learning needs and how Yesod might help you address them.
To arrange a Jewish Learning Consultation, complete the online form here or for more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn and Winter Intensive Online Jewish Learning Opportunities
Consider some of the following online Jewish learning opportunities. To explore how Yesod may be able to support your participation, arrange a Jewish Learning Consultation (see above).
Standalone Online Jewish Learning Opportunities and Resources