November 03, 2008

Ramaz School e-reminder: Vote on Election Day, November 4

With Election Day on Tuesday, our current students are eagerly anticipating the result of this historic vote on the national level, and already understand that voting is both a privilege and a responsibility.

We hope that you share their enthusiasm and interest, and we encourage all registered voters in the Ramaz family to vote on Tuesday, November 4.

° ° °

When I was growing up in New York City, my father, of blessed memory, a pioneer American Jewish educator, enrolled me in the Ramaz School family. There, with a double curriculum (religious and secular studies), by eighth grade, I was taking 17 subjects!

Since its beginning, in 1937, Ramaz has been widely recognized for its academic excellence, reflecting the vision of founder Rabbi Joseph Lookstein: ". . . an integrated program of religious studies combined with general studies — a school in which the culture of America would blend with the heritage of Judaism." In this yeshiva day school, "a child would not experience an intellectual or emotional clash between being a Jew and an American."

Between growing up in a traditional Jewish home and attending Ramaz, where I learned Torah, Mishna, Talmud, and cantillation, among other religious subjects, I began to acquire basic tools and confidence to participate as an active member of the Jewish community. Since those early years, followed by continuing studies and experiences, I have been at home anywhere in the Jewish world. Whether I participate in a worship or life cycle service in an orthodox, post-denominational, or secular setting, I am at home. Whether the language is Hebrew or English, I am at home.

My Jewish education and the values that I inherited are liberalizing and universalizing influences in my life. And while my Jewishness plays into my identity, ideas, and activities, no rabbi, political party, lobby group, nation, or Jewish civil law necessarily determines my choices or decisions. I am neither a captive of my greater community nor am I a renegade. The tradition is rich; the tent is wide.

Bottom lines:
  • Daddy, your love and legacy are my strengths.
  • Ramaz School, your continuing education informs my choices.
  • Every American registered voter, if you haven't already done so, cast your ballot tomorrow, and vote!


JeSais said...

"voting is both a privilege and a responsibility."

This is so much more true than saying voting is a right. I too believe it is a responsibility, and part of the social contract of living in the US (in my case). And even if it meant the other side won, I would still advocate for EVERY citizen to get registered and vote.

and certainly a privilege that I thank god for, especially being aware of other countries in the world where even if there is a vote, it's a sham. We may have snafus here in the US, but for the most part it runs smoothly. and even when in 2004 the count went on forever, our country survived. no military coups, no revolutions, a smooth transition.

Tamar Orvell said...

Jen — Right on, sister! And may we never squander our votes due to cynicism, absenteeism, despair, or absence of courage, hope, or vision beyond the bubbles we each live in.