Today we welcomed Senator Marc Gold into our Grade 5 classroom, where he delivered a bilingual presentation sharing his experience in the Senate of Canada and answering our questions.
The students were so engaged, and their interest was seen through the thoughtful and insightful questions they asked. There were so many incredible lessons that Senator Gold shared with us that I hope we will all remember for a long time.
What stood out for me, is how much Senator Gold relies on his Jewish values in the decisions he makes, the path he has followed in his life, and the way he considers his responsibilities within the Senate. Growing up in a Jewish home, he remembers his mother giving food to strangers who would knock at the door. From that upbringing, he always felt a strong responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable, and do his small, but important role, of making the world a better place. Tikkun Olam is what guides him on a daily basis, and says that even his non-Jewish colleagues believe in this important Jewish value.
Working as a senator is an important job, one that Senator Gold does not take lightly. He has had to make difficult decisions, as his commitment to his province, his belief in the constitution, and his own personal opinions can sometimes conflict with each other. Again, he makes connections to Judaism when facing these challenges. Our tradition teaches us to confront challenges (own our own learning), to look at multiple points of view, expose ourselves to as many points of view as we can (we learn better together), and rely on others to teach you (each person is responsible for the other), as this is how we learn the best. He even referenced the Talmud, where multiple commentary are included, not just the commentary of the “winner”. These opinions are important to document and share, as their thoughts may be important at some point in history. Therefore, even if his opinions are not the most popular, Senator Gold sees it as his responsibility to share and document them, as their value may not yet be seen.
Finally, he showed us that diversity is important. Before becoming a lawyer and a senator, he always loved music, and continues to play in a band, even today. He loves to walk, spend time with his family, read, and my favourite, daydream.
In our class we know that, “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”
At OJCS, we embrace our differences, encourage hard work, and help to guide each other on our own unique Jewish journeys. Today was an incredible example of how these values will continue to serve us, even after we leave the welcoming walls of OJCS.