“The secret of Jewish continuity is that no people has ever devoted more of its energies to continuity. The focal point of Jewish life is the transmission of a heritage across the generations. Time and again in the Torah we are drawn to dramas of the next generation. Judaism’s focus is its children.”
“As we look back on this extraordinary century – the century in which Yom ha-Shoah, Yom ha-Atzma’ut and Yom Yerushalayim were added to the Jewish calendar – we have cause to wonder and give thanks. I cannot fathom the mysteries of the Holocaust. But I know this, that after one of the greatest tragedies in human history, the Jewish people has emerged from the valley of the shadow of death and found independence and sovereignty in the land of its birth, and freedom and affluence in most countries of the diaspora. But one question reverberates throughout the Jewish world today. What will God have given us if we gain all else and lose our own children?”
“The first recorded words of man to God in the history of the covenant are a plea for there to be future generations.”
“I know of nothing more moving than watching children pray. When I visited synagogues I always try to spend a few moments in the children’s service, seeing the faces of young girls and boys as they say the Shema, or listen to stories taken from the weekly Sidrah, or sing their first Jewish songs. Here as nowhere else I witness the miracle of Jewish continuity, the simple yet infinitely subtle way in which we pass on our faith to our children. There is nothing more precious we can give them. One day they will discover – as we who have been there before them discovered – that the siddur is nothing less than our route to the Divine presence.”
“Judaism is a religion of continuity. It depends for its very existence on the willingness of successive generations to hand on their faith and way of life to their children, and on the loyalty of children to the heritage of their past.”
“You achieve immortality not by building pyramids or statues – but by engraving your values on the hearts of your children, and they on theirs, so that our ancestors live on in us and we in our children, and so on until the end of time.”
“To be a parent is to be willing to take one’s child and walk, hand in hand, part-way on the Jewish journey, showing that we are prepared to live by the faith we want him or her to continue.”
“Sometimes we have too little confidence as parents. We underestimate how much our children want to hear from us the stories that give sense and purpose to our lives, and will one day give them strength.”
“Perhaps the secret of Jewish survival through 4,000 years lies in the fact that we’ve always tried to put children first.”