Message from Rabbi Lord Sacks
Schools are the beating pulse of Jewish life. Other civilizations prided themselves on their castles and cathedrals. We cared less about buildings than about builders: Call them not (said the sages) ‘your children’ but ‘your builders’. Universal education – which Jews created eighteen centuries before Britain – was the first priority of any Jewish community. In the darkest days of persecution in Spain, Jews built schools. When the Thirty Years War that devastated Europe between 1618 and 1648 came to an end, the first thing Jews did was to reconstruct the educational system. When R. Samson Raphael Hirsch was appointed Rabbi in Frankfurt, his community wanted to build a new synagogue. First, he said, build a Jewish school. Only then may you build a synagogue.
Etz Chaim will address a need in the area for more Jewish primary school places. From it you will see blessings for generations to come.
May the school have many successful years.
With blessings and all good wishes
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
January 2011/Shevat 5771