Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
My sister-in-law Yehudit Moskovitz, an elementary school teacher in Ramla, wrote the following to me last night:
"School ended early yesterday in Israel and thousands of teachers went out to demonstrate because of their low salaries. I do not want to get into the details of this dispute but, in my opinion, there is something fundamentally wrong with this picture.
It's not teachers who need to demonstrate, but rather parents, children, and all those who care about education in Israel. And it’s not salaries that should be protested, but rather the status of teachers in general.
Salaries are merely a reflection of this status.
As soon as we assign proper value to a teacher's job, we will pay salaries and create working conditions commensurate with it".
We are approaching Shavuot, when it is customary to bring children to hear the Ten Commandments. Our sages relate that at the moment when God gave us the Torah, he wanted to be certain that we would keep it and asked us for guarantors.
Initially, the nation of Israel suggested our forefathers as guarantors. That is, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. This offer was not accepted. Afterwards, the children of Israel suggested that the elders would be the guarantors since they would teach Torah, or that the prophets would be the guarantors. Actually, they were telling God: Our elders and our spiritual guides will be the guarantors since they will be Torah instructors and ensure that it will be kept, but none of these offers were accepted.
Only when the people said 'Our children will be our guarantors' was their offer accepted. And so God gave us the Torah. Why? Because the children, the next generation, the youth, they are the most important ones, they are the guarantors of our future. From the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai until today, throughout all our exiles, it has been clear that the children are the true guarantors of our future existence, and what is most important is to teach them. If only we can learn to appreciate those who teach them today."