First, an interesting question from this morning: On Monday, I went to shul with one of my children. Davening was long (Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah, after all!) and I surprised him afterward with a trip to a local bakery for a jelly doughnut.
This morning - again Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh - I found all of my children dressed and ready to go to shul, bright and early. [Today is Boxing Day nidcheh, so davening wasn't that early] Obviously, a repeat trip to the bakery was expected.
So - Go or No Go? Confirm them in the idea that service of Gd brings quick earthly rewards? Or show them that a mitzvah has value in itself?
I needed about 3 seconds to debate that one; I took them to the bakery. What would you do?
But on to the main subject of this post:
I received a link yesterday to video of Newark's Mayor Corey Booker, speaking at a fundraiser for the Jewish Day School of the Lehigh Valley, the community day school in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The school educates, and draws support from, the gamut of the Jewish spectrum, with a message that tries to reach everyone.
Mayor Booker's speech was perfect; watch it below. [Note: Part II is even better than Part I; that's where he gets into his 'dvar torah'.] I wish every Jewish parent could watch it. He laid out simple but compelling reasons why a Jewish community must support its Jewish school.
Often, Jews draw inspiration from praise that comes from outside the Jewish community; we love to cite Mark Twain on the Eternal Jew, for example. Having a non-Jew recognize value in our community and ideals offers validation. Certainly, that's part of what I value in Mayor Booker's words - but I am more impressed by the Torah content itself.