Father to the Fatherless

This coming Sunday – the 24th of Av – will be Janusz Korczak’s yahrzeit (passed away in 1942). The famous educator, marched together with his students from the orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto and refused to leave them. Korczak is considered till this very day a revolutionist in everything that has to do with children’s rights. Here are a few ideas from his educational philosophy, in his memory:

  • About educator’s behavior with children: “We fall in the illusion that a child can do, for many days, with the worldview of an angel, by which everything is simple. But, would we be able to hide from him the ignorance, the weakness, the contradictions? Could we hide from him our defeats and falls and the fact that we do not have a formula for happiness? In education, there is nothing better than total honesty on the educator’s part”.
  • About the purpose of the orphanage that he established: “Without this house, the children would not have known that in the world there are also upright people who do not steal. They would not have known that it is OK to tell the truth. They would not have known that there are circles of justice, soft warmth and love”.
  • About Judaism and Zionism, to which he got closer in his later years: “I traveled to Eretz Israel to absorb the past, to find a leaning point for my thoughts about the present and even to touch the future. And first of all – to Jerusalem. All the longings, not the Jewish ones but the human ones, flow to Jerusalem”.
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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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