I would like to hang another banner out in front of our temple: No Soul Left Behind.
If you have not yet seen or heard of the film “Race to Nowhere,” especially if you are a parent or grandparent, please check it out (racetonowhere.com). At a recent screening of the film to a capacity crowd in the Sharon High School auditorium, we were confronted with the frightening impact of our “success”-oriented culture on the well-being of our children. I attended in the hope of supporting efforts to bring about systemic change in our community.
I was moved to tears not by the film (which was of course very powerful), but by the many testimonies of Sharon High students who spontaneously went up to the microphone to make their voices heard.
Judaism has historically been a counter-cultural force, pushing back against idolatrous priorities. How can we as a spiritual community become a sanctuary from cultural pressures on our children that have spun out of control?
No Soul Left Behind. I made up that slogan when I got home from the film screening. It’s a good place to start. Let’s make our temple a haven where children and teens can relax, enjoy engaging activities with friends and family, and just be kids. Judaism teaches us many principles which ought to guide our decisions about child-rearing both individually and as a community. Here’s one to start with: Each child is a unique, precious soul created in the divine image.