Centres of the community

18th April 1997 at 01:00
DR JONATHAN SACKS Chief Rabbi

I would like to see the social setting of schools re-examined, the school as centre of the community, a place where family education takes place, where local community groups and businesses interact.

It is something which we have experimented with a great deal in the Jewish community and we have found it has enormous impact.

There are some fine examples in Britain, not only in Jewish schools, but they are not widely known. There are many good things coming from American experience also, particularly in family education.

We need some far-reaching thought on the place of the school in society. That might lead to a reassessment of the status of teachers in society. They are among a civilisation's most precious assets. A re-evaluation is called for which restores to education its true dignity as the citadel of cultural continuity.

Jewish Continuity, which I founded two years ago, has a major programme of school building, but we know schools will not succeed unless they are strongly connected to families and the community.

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