IN OUR SCHOOLS—MORAH SARA LEVITT Or maybe our sages wanted to remind us not of the children but to think thoroughly about what our children are really asking us and what they need. Could this be Judaism’s reminder to educators and parents that children, even in one family are unique individuals with their own ideas and concerns.
FOUR CHILDREN, MANY QUESTIONS Our tradition is rich with “how to’s” and “don’t do’s,” with guidelines for everything from what we put in our mouth and the types of clothes we wear. Around this time of year, one of our most elaborate tools for learning makes an appearance—the Haggadah. I love how many things we draw from in this jam-packed book of story, tradition, and metaphor.
I think the answer is somewhere in between. May this be our challenge and our blessing during this season of renewal; to look at our tradition and our children each Passover through new eyes and with an open heart.
Each year however I am struck by the story of the four children. While as I child my family and I would laugh over who got stuck with reading about the wicked child or the simple one, as an adult who works closely with children, I am frustrated with our tradition’s encouragement to label children “wicked” or “simple.” Can you imagine if when we introduced children to others we said, "Here is our child who challenges everything I say," or "That is the child who is a smart-aleck. This our child who struggles to comprehend basic content. And this is the one who is non-verbal?" It is problematic to me that the Haggadah, a resource so rich with opportunity to teach and learn, labels children so quickly based on the questions they have for their parents. What lesson do our children learn from the Haggadah labeling a child as “wicked” or “simple” because they admitted that they don’t understand what this whole thing was about?
FEATURED EVENTS [CONT.] vost and Executive Vice President of The University of Tulsa. For reservations at the Touro dinner, please call (918) 583-7121 or visit the Synagogue website at www.tulsagogue.com. Seat prices are listed, with many opportunities to honor Eva with an additional contribution. The Synagogue is located at the corner of Peoria and 17th Street, and complimentary valet parking will be available on the night of the event.
MAZAL TOVS KUDOS Congratulations to Dan Wilk, Son of Nancy Wilk and Dr. Larry Wilk, who was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work as an Adobe scientist on After Effects, a widely used software tool for motion grpahics. It’s the preeminent tool of its kind for film production. Kudos to Dan and his team for a significant achievement.
There must be an explanation hidden, perhaps deeply, in the story of the four children for both parents and educators. Perhaps the story of the four children exaggerates these qualities on purpose, forcing us to think about how we generalize children and make assumptions about their character based on their questions. Is this our traditions warning to avoid such generalizations?