Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rabbi Min on Talmud Torah

Basic Jewish Value #9:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

Jewish people are often referred to as "people of the book," not only because of our relationship to "THE Book" (the Bible), but also because study and education are important Jewish values. Wisdom, in the Jewish tradition, can be found in both sacred and ordinary texts and experiences. The Talmud, for example, a huge compendium of Jewish law, teaching, lore and discussion, includes puns, word play and stories about ordinary people and unusual situations. For Jewish Family Service, this value translates into a commitment to keep learning. At each monthly staff meeting, I do a little teaching. Staff members are encouraged to attend trainings and seminars to enhance their skills and develop their competencies. We also recognize that our clients have many years of accumulated wisdom; when we spend quality time with them, we learn from their wisdom.

Rabbi Min Kantrowitz
Director, Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program

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