B’seder (Satisfactory) is not Maspik (Enough)

Every parent claims that they want the best for their child, and in terms of education, every parent wants their child to do their best. However, there are times when the limiting beliefs of a parent – which may stem from their own negative or limited educational experiences – can hold a parent back from pursuing or seeking the best for their child, and one good example of this relates to Ivrit education.
Having lived in many parts of the world and having mixed with many different Jewish parents, I know that most Jewish parents say that they want their child to be able to read, write, speak and understand Ivrit.
At the same time, these very same experiences have repeatedly taught me that when it comes to Ivrit education, there is a significant disconnect between what parents say they want for their children and what they are prepared to do in order to achieve it, and while ‘satisfactory’ is regarded by most Jewish parents as a less than desirable grade in Math or Science, many parents seem to be comfortable with their child achieving ‘satisfactory’ – or less – in Ivrit.
In terms of Jewish schools, notwithstanding their exorbitant costs, many of them have a poor record and have low standards in Ivrit education (nb. a point often ignored by parents is that if the Ivrit expectations of a school are just ‘satisfactory’, then even a student who gets an ‘A’ for Ivrit has still only achieved a ‘satisfactory’ level of Ivrit knowledge).
In terms of communities, I know that it is not always possible for children to attend Ivrit lessons for a variety of legitimate reasons. With most Jewish communities in Europe today being fragile, and unsure of their future thriving, what has worked in the past, may not work for the future – and what does that mean for our children? I believe it is important to provide a skills based education, so no matter what context the children find themselves in – they are able to maintain their own Jewish identity. We live in a world where language skills count. They provide a unique experience within that language. And in terms of parents, many simply believe that knowing Ivrit is a ‘bonus’ rather than a ‘core’ subject, and basing themselves on their belief that their Jewish life is in no way inhibited by not knowing Ivrit, they cannot imagine how their child’s Jewish life will be either.
However, wherever you live, Ivrit is a core skill that benefits every Jew both as a living language spoken in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, as well as a language that opens the doors to Jewish and Israel literacy.
I believe the time has come for us to challenge our limiting beliefs, to demand better Ivrit education, and to stop settling for ‘satisfactory’ Ivrit results.
So if you are a parent of a child who attends a Jewish school, I beg you to take a greater interest in your child’s Ivrit education; to demand that your child be taught by professional teachers; and to expect your child to achieve more than just satisfactory results. It is an investment in the future of their Jewish Identity.
And if you are a parent of a child who is looking for an alternative supplementary school solution where your child can learn Ivrit & Judaic Studies online for 3 hours per week from professional teachers with outstanding results, please contact me at school@zehud.com.

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