Most of you have made a choice to educate your children about Judaism. This was not necessarily an easy choice and I would imagine that in some cases your decision was reached after lengthy and difficult discussions within your family. But the decision was made and I assume that you have determined that there is something about Judaism that you wish your children to learn, but you may not be precisely certain what it is or why it is important.
So what perhaps are you trying to accomplish by teaching your children about Judaism?
I believe that what you (and we) are trying to do is twofold. Together, our goal is to endeavor to help your children understand who they are. To do so, we must give your children awareness of their origins. We must help to provide them with a context for who they are and why they are who they are.
The importance of knowing oneself is reflected in most psychotherapies and is the goal of many philosophical systems. We all know that Socrates believed that self-knowledge was the key to reaching one's potential - and that Freud's primary dictum was the importance of uncovering hidden motives and meanings behind our actions and thoughts.
Most of us believe that self-knowledge is indeed one of the necessary components for living the "good life" because it promotes self-understanding, which leads to self-acceptance and self- empowerment. Hopefully, this in turn will lead to an ability to engage in effective and fulfilled lives. Knowledge of our origins is the beginning of self-knowledge. We are neither fixed nor abstract beings. Who we are, is where we have come from.
Regardless if your children have much or little Judaism in their background, it is still a component in their self-makeup. So is any other culture or religion that is part of your family. Our biology, our parents' dreams and neuroses, our grandparents' beliefs, our holiday celebrations, WWII and WWI, and the founding of America are all part of our stories and help to explain who we are. The more complete the story, the more complete the self-understanding.
Self-knowledge is one of the central goals at the Sunday School. We will educate your children in relation to the Jewish part of their selfhood. By doing so we trust that we will contribute something constructive to their futures. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so.