Posted on June 9, 2014 by Heather Kantrowitz
My PCJE graduation speech:
Chazak V’Ematz – Be strong and resolute. These are the words that Yehoshua spoke to Bnei Yisrael upon entering the land of Israel thousands of years ago. Today, I speak these words to my friends and peers as we prepare to enter new territory – the land of teaching. This fall, we will each be entering different schools, eager to teach the Torah we have been working so hard to learn these past few years here at Pardes. At first, this phrase Chazak V’Ematz is used by Moshe as he says goodbye to B’nai Yisrael and he warns them to stay strong in the face of challenges. This is similar to Judy, the fearless leader and incredible director of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators, who has constantly supported and encouraged us, along with Susan, Gail, and Aviva. Thank you also to the AVICHAI foundation, for making this program financially possible and changing the face of Jewish Education in North America. The phrase Chazak V’Ematz is also used in the book of Yehoshua, which I studied in depth this year with Michael Hattin, who has served as an inspiration during my past two years of learning with him. I also want to take the opportunity to thank all of my other teachers who have served as role models for how to not only learn and love Torah, but also live Torah. In Yehoshua, Chazak VEmatz is often used to reassure B’nai Yisrael and Yehoshua that everything will be okay, and God will be with them on their journey so they have no cause to fear. Now, I am charging all of us: Chazak VEmatz, be strong and resolute. We are going into uncharted territory and will face many challenges in our new land of teaching, but just as Bnei Yisrael assisted and supported each other, we are lucky to have such a talented and creative cohort to lean on. Thank you to PEP Cohort 13 and the rest of the Pardes community for your everlasting strength and resolve on our long journey. Chazak V’Ematz.