Reaching for the Sky

Chief Rabbi David Lau at the 2023 Netzach Network Event

The Netzach Educational Network held its annual staff conference in Jerusalem with 250 teachers and administrators, 55 more than last year! They were addressed by Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Rav David Lau, Rabbi Yaakov Haber from Beit Shemesh, and Shai Calderon, Director of Haredi Schools at the Ministry of Education (below).

Netzach’s Chief Executive Michoel Nachtiler spoke about the Netzach vision and it’s important undertaking. “At a time of great tension between the spiritual and the physical, Netzach attempts to connect and integrate these elements into our daily lives. This is a tension that is found inside each person, in every society and throughout history. As Haredi Jews we need to fly the flag for spirituality, to proclaim the presence of the Creator, and to share the Divine message of morality. We recognize that bringing these ideas into the working world is a complex undertaking, which many shy away from. They try to hold onto lofty spiritual values without connecting them with daily life. We understand their fears, but we believe that this disconnect can lead to personal, national and even global problems.

“Netzach’s schools choose to look closely at the tension between spirituality and the physical world, to engage with it, and to transform it into a positive energy. We put the ladder firmly on the ground so that it reaches up to the sky. We try to connect as much as possible between the wishes of Heaven and the reality of life in Israel. Each of our schools does this in its own way, according to its unique character. Each school chooses what to emphasize in its educational philosophy, but all of them are engaged in the task of connecting heaven and earth.”

The Founder and President of Netzach, Rav Menachem Bombach, spoke about the many challenges that teachers face, and how they are empowered by the Netzach Network with professional, emotional and practical support. Against the background of the social unrest in Israel, he emphasized the negativity that is impacting today’s youth, and the need to inspire students to stay positive and optimistic about the future.

Rabbi Yaakov Haber, Rav of Kehillat Shivtei Yeshurun in Beit Shemesh, spoke about the challenges facing young people, who are often lacking in spiritual focus and direction. Chief Rabbi David Lau chose a similar theme, calling on the teachers in all of Netzach’s schools to help their students to aim high and fulfil their potential in both religious and secular studies.

The teachers spent the rest of the day brainstorming together on how to improve their schools, with help from a playback theater group and pedagogy experts.

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