Desert Island Texts

Desert Island Texts

If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?

This week Orly Goldschmidt, education programme manager at Tzedek, selects the Haggadah

If I were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, I’d take the Haggadah.

This is firstly because, cast away on a desert island, the Haggadah allows me to remember the atmosphere of the Seder table, and the taste of all the excellent recipes my parents cooked for the holiday – especially my father’s charoset.

But above all, this text for me contains all the tools to make it the educational Jewish text par excellence. The fact that children play an essential role throughout the night, makes the Haggadah a perfect pedagogical tool. Not to mention the lessons of humility and responsibility embedded in the text and, of course, the emphasis on questioning.

After events in Israel in the last month, one can see the importance of educating our children with an open mind, teaching them to always ask questions and never take anything for granted, and teaching them essential values such as justice and respect – notions that we find every year in the Haggadah.

I’ve just started working for Tzedek, and one of the programmes that the organisation supports, School for Life, gives funds to support the education of Ghanaian children in schools and train their teachers.

Having the privilege to be able to see the benefits of empowering children by facilitating access to education has deeply affected the choice of my Jewish text today.
Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

Being able to receive an education is not only a privilege, it is a fundamental right. The Haggadah reminds me I need to do all I can to facilitate this.