Predictions for the History Books
It was the second night of Hanukkah and as our family lit the candles my children began to engage in the GreatNess Debate (“ness” means “miracle” in Hebrew), an activity that my 5th grader had participated in that day at Hannah Senesh community day school. My 10-year-old advocated for the might of the Maccabees, but my 13-year-old argued that it was the 8 days of oil that was the greater miracle. My mind got to wondering…. how will 2022 be recorded in Jewish history?
History is a strange thing. Often written by the victors, at best relying on primary sources, largely focused on transformative individuals, almost always subjective and rife for critique. It’s difficult to imagine how this past year will be remembered hundreds or even thousands of years from now. It might be far-fetched to claim that some of the events in 2022 have been miraculous, but for this Jewish educator there are some standout moments and people that might vie for a place in the future historical record, as I ask myself these questions...
- After the Covid plague recedes, will the unprecedented, rapid development of vaccines that has saved millions of lives be considered a miracle?
- Who will be remembered as the voices that most reflected or impacted Jewish life in 2022? Some contenders might include Benjamin Netanyahu, Deborah Lipstadt, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Gal Gadot, or even Ye.
- With the current surge of antisemitism, will the images of so many Jews celebrating Hannukah in the White House be the ones that tell the Jewish story of 2022?
- Will there be a story told of resurgent Jewish life, first online and then hybrid, catalyzed by the greatest pandemic in the last century?
Only time will tell how history might record the days we’re living in right now. And, what about you? What are the core themes that have dominated Jewish life for you in 2022? Who indeed are the voices of 2022 that will be elevated, or reviled, in the years to come? I welcome your thoughts...send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History is often told, and taught, by educators. Educators have the privilege and the responsibility to shape the past in a way that makes sense for the present. So to all of the Jewish educators out there, as 2022 comes to a close, we thank you, and pay tribute to you for accepting the privilege and assuming the responsibility, often in adverse conditions, for not only being the people who are translating our past, but for creating our future.
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See you in 2023.
David Bryfman, CEO
The Jewish Education Project