Jewish Journal


January 10, 2013

Jewish Education:  Where is God?



By BTS Prevention

As a program that is based in the principles of Jewish spirituality, Partners in Prevention mostly visits schools and camps of the Judaic persuasion. At these institutions, students are given the knowledge that comes with a rigorous secular education.   But teachers and administrators are given another, equally important task— to instill Jewish values, morals, and ethics within their students. The sense of community and Jewish identity is apparent at all of these institutions—this is what separates them from their neighborhood, private school brethren. However, though Jewish identity is strong, students react in much the same way as their public school contemporaries when broached with the subject of God.

Many students are atheist and many are agnostic.  They reject the “bearded sky-man” depiction of God and therefore react with contempt at the mere mention of the word.  Most are Jewish teenagers that, as the saying goes, “collected their dividends at age 13, then got out of the business.” They didn’t leave Judaism, but they abandoned their search for God.  I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I am not criticizing it; it is simply an observation. And with this observation, I would like to propose a question, “when did mainstream Jewish education become divorced from the concept of God?”

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