Who remembers their teacher from 1st grade, 70 years later? Prof. Margalit Shiloh sent me this picture this week: 76 year old students at a reunion with their home-room teacher, Rebbetzin Miriam Amital, 92 years old. Shiloh recounts:
“We started 1st grade in 1948, at the Tahkemoni school in Rehovot. We didn’t know how we were going to study at all. There was nothing back then. The Ministry of Education was barely established. Everything was done spontaneously, but with a lot of love and common sense. Our young teacher Miriam helped form our personality with enthusiasm and love. She swept after her new Olim who didn’t speak Hebrew and walked many kilometers every day from the Ma’abara (absorption camp for Olim in the 1950’s) to school. She took us out of the classroom to study in nature. She encouraged us to write essays and express ourselves. Some of us loved her so much that we called her ‘mother’. Despite the poverty and meager conditions, despite the War of Independence, she filled us with joy and gratitude for everything we had. She was so meaningful for us, so much so that at the recent reunion we recalled even memories of little things of her, that are truly part of us even today.”
I looked at this picture, in which the experienced senior teacher sits fourth from the right. Perhaps it seems to us that our actions evaporate and disappear, but here is a proof otherwise: our connection with others can be very meaningful even 70 yeas later.