The Five Lives of a Jewish Day School Grad

Jun. 04, 2012

Source: rabbi's pen 


The day school graduation time of year brings Rabbi Micah Lapidus of Davis Academy, Atlanta GA. to ask in his blog: "What should a diploma from a Jewish independent school represent? Stated differently, what is the value of a Jewish independent school education?"

He writes:

A Jewish independent school diploma should be more than an entry pass to the next level of schooling. It should reflect the aims of an educational vision that is primarily concerned with preparing students for meaningful engagement beyond the walls of the classroom…


Upon completing their years of study at a Jewish independent school graduates should feel empowered, compelled, and inspired to engage in the following five valuable areas (the five lives of a Jewish independent school graduate):

  • Jewish Life - In addition to cultivating a personal connection to Judaism and molding a Jewish life that reflects their needs and interests, they should also understand, respect, and embrace the fact that the broader Jewish community looks to them for leadership.
  • Spiritual Life - After davening (Jewish prayer) on a regular basis, living the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, and participating in limmudei kodesh (study of Jewish texts and topics) our graduates should be spiritually connected.
  • Intellectual Life - Our graduates should embody the value of Torah lishma (learning for its own sake). They should be curious, open-minded, creative, playful, iconoclastic, imaginative, rigorous, and critical in their intellectual lives.
  • Civic Life - Just as we expect our graduates to explore their Jewish commitments from a place of full humanity, so too do we hope that they will engage in the broader (and often secular) society as Jews. Citizenship needs to be a key concept in Jewish education.
  • Ethical Life. The “human being” is not a neutral entity in Judaism. We are only “human” insofar as we are ethical, or good. This sentiment is expressed in the Yiddish word, mentsch. While they’re still beneath the shelter of our wings, we have an ethical obligation to socialize our students toward ethical living.

Read the entire post at rabbi's pen.

Updated: Jun. 19, 2012