New Defining Dates We'll Forever Teach
As an Israel educator, there have always been certain years embedded within my consciousness - 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, and 1990. I could also add various military incursions and Intifadas, but these dates of Israeli wars have always weighed heavily on me.
As an educator who has always cared about the collective Jewish experience, there has been another set of dates that has also resonated with me. 1972, 1976, 1984, 1990, 1991. The Munich Olympics, Operation Entebbe, Operation Moses, Operation Exodus, and Operation Solomon – all moments in time when Jews from around the world have galvanized in pain and in celebration because of this thing called Jewish Peoplehood.
To both lists I now add 2023, and indeed 2024.
The war against Hamas which began on October 7 will forever be added to that first list of dates. And it is the plight of over 130 hostages still held in captivity that has already become the defining moment for Jewish peoplehood in our time.
If you have ever pondered what it is like to live in a historic moment, you need not wonder anymore. The mitzvah (commandment) of Pidyon Shvuyim (Redeeming the Captives) is not just a historical edict – it is our moral imperative today. How we educate one another and the world, and contribute to freeing the hostages, will be how our generation is defined in the history books of years to come.
Jewish Peoplehood has always been about a shared Jewish history and a shared Jewish destiny. As Jewish educators we are on the front lines of demanding that our sisters and brothers be brought home.
Go to The Jewish Educator Portal for our resources on Israel and antisemitism.