Torah For Today! This week: Euan Blair’s alternative to university
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Analysis

Torah For Today! This week: Euan Blair’s alternative to university

Rabbi Ariel Abel reflects on the former PMs son's training company which has made him a fortune and offered young people another route to success

Rabbi Ariel Abel

Ariel Abel is rabbi of the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation

Euan Blair
Euan Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s son, Euan, was revealed to be worth £73million after founding a training company offering alternatives to attending university. So, what does the Torah say about the importance of formal education and success?

What Euan Blair has achieved is essentially becoming a pioneer in formal education. University is not for everyone, and that should not mean there are no other alternatives. 

The Torah believes in alternatives that encourage opportunity. One story tells us of a family who wished to celebrate Pesach, the cornerstone of family education. They were not able to as they were bereaved at the time, and so they asked Moses if they could celebrate Pesach after its
fixed date. God gave them a second opportunity a month later for them to carry out a seder. 

Formal education is instilled at an early age, but late starters are encouraged. Rabbi Akiva only started to learn the Hebrew alphabet at the age of 40. This means that 1,900 years ago, the Jewish people were well ahead of the game in further education, recognising the value of access to all to study, gain skills and accumulate knowledge. 

Thanks to that, and to his wife’s untiring support, Rabbi Akiva rose to such enlightened heights that he became the key link in the chain of tradition without whom the Talmud may well have not come into existence. 

Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, attributed to King Solomon, reflects a society steeped in literature and the pursuit of knowledge to the point he warns: “More so, my son, be careful, of making many books there is no end; and too much study wearies
the body”. 

Solomon composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. The prolific endeavours of famous rabbis and lay philosophers, artists, scientists and masters of other disciplines abound disproportionately to the world population.

It’s no surprise that the teacher-student relationship is the loftiest in Judaism. Moses himself is not known in Hebrew as the lawgiver, but as ‘our teacher’, showing the highest accolade possible in Judaism is paid to education. 

  • Rabbi Ariel Abel serves Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and is padre to Merseyside Army Cadet Force

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments