In a new book, “The Education Imperative,” Rabbi Nochem Kaplan, longtime educator and director of Chabad’s central education office, presents the Rebbe’s teachings and guidance on education and parenting.
Following relentless requests from principals, teachers and parents, to Rabbi Kaplan, who heads the Merkos Chinuch Office, he felt compelled to compile the book the Rebbe’s talks, letters and responses, many never published in English.
In The Education Imperative, Rabbi Kaplan writes, that education may be understood as the formal process that takes place in a school setting, “but the Rebbe saw education as encompassing all issues related to the rearing of children and their personal development.”
For over five decades Rabbi Kaplan has been involved in education, including in Torah Umesorah, Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, Yeshiva Rabbi Dov Revel and as chairman of the Standing Standards and Review Committee of the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), and is well equipped to understand the Rebbe’s novel approach to education.
To give the reader an understanding, Rabbi Kaplan introduces each chapter with an over view of the Rebbe’s approach on the topic. “The Rebbe cautioned teachers to concentrate less on what to avoid and not do,” writers Rabbi Kaplan in the introduction to the chapter on positive focus, “and more on what is appropriate and why it is desirable. He wanted the student to feel uplifted and inspired, not brow-beaten.”
Included in the over 360 pages, are sections on the principles in education, the parents’ role in raising a sound child, the school’s role, on bringing Torah into the education process, the 12 Pesukim and education according to a person’s lifecycle.
Presented in an easy to read format, divided into short chapters, the new book fills a void in the English language, and is already being hailed a great addition to the Jewish library.
In his introduction, Rabbi Kaplan writes that the Rebbe stressed that raising children is a privilege, “G-d gives them the opportunity to raise a new generation, and they have a responsibility to do so properly. Parents are to nourish and shelter their children, and also to create an environment in which their children may develop, morally and spiritually.”