“Chanoch lanaar al pi darko,” writes King Solomon in the book of Proverbs. “Teach each child according to their own path.”
As Jewish people, we have an obligation to emulate the ways of G-d. G-d created a beautiful and diverse world for us. He could have easily used the identical mold to create each person, but he chose to make us all different.
Every Jewish family and every Jewish student no matter what their background may be, should have a Jewish high school that they feel comfortable attending. They should have educational options that not only meet their needs, but also serve to reinforce, deepen, and expand their core values and provide a space for them to embark on their spiritual journey with close friends, role models, and mentors. They should be given the tools to maintain their identity with pride as they prepare for their roles in society and understand what is unique about being Jewish.
For the past decade there has been a void in our community for families that need a local, co-ed Jewish high school option.
Currently, we have two excellent Orthodox Jewish high schools with extremely dedicated and devoted boards and staff. Rabbi Rafi Landesman of Shearim Torah High School for Girls and Rabbi Gavriel Goetz of Yeshiva High School of Arizona for boys have revolutionized our local high school playing field and provided much more than a Jewish education. They encourage their students to be involved in the community and provide a warm supportive environment for them to grow and develop. However, children that don’t fit into these schools have no choice but to attend a non-Jewish school or relocate.
Our growth as a vibrant Jewish city is limited unless we can establish a sustainable school that can serve a broad demographic of local Jewish families. The Greater Phoenix community needs a high school that prepares students academically for their future in an environment that instills within them the rich values that are unique to Judaism. One commentary asserts that the Shema, where the Torah established the obligation to teach our children, indicates that Jewish education is a communal responsibility. Although parents have the ultimate responsibility to educate their children, we all need to be involved. Together, we can make it happen.
Taking on such a tremendous project is not easy and will not come without challenges. I commend the Oasis team for their efforts to establish a viable option for our community and for assisting us with our communal responsibility of Jewish education.
About Rachel Isaacs
Rachel grew up in New Jersey and is married to Rabbi Yisroel Isaacs. They have lived in Phoenix since 2010 and have five children. In her professional career, Rachel worked as a pharmaceutical microbiologist and she Rachel currently serves as a Rebbitzen at the Rebibo Center for Jewish Life.