Parashat Va'et'hanan

Jewish Continuity--According to Moses

Moses' final speeches highlight the importance of giving our children transformative Jewish experiences.

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Moses teaches us the most essential lesson about life and about Jewish continuity. It is important that the people remember what they saw, for they experienced firsthand the miracles of Egypt and the desert journey. But even more importantly, they had to share with their children what they saw, what they witnessed and experienced. The dream continues through their children.

We who work with those on the periphery of the Jewish community understand this notion. As I often say, "Interfaith marriage is not the end of Jewish continuity. Not raising Jewish children is the end of Jewish continuity." That was what Moses taught the people then and this is what we have to teach the community now. Through the sharing of transformative Jewish experiences--with our children, and with newcomers to the community--we continue the legacy gifted to us on the way to the Promised Land.

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Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky is executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute and the author of numerous books about Jewish spirituality.