Thank You for Inspiring Me to Keep Engaging in the Business of Torah

B’shem Omro, in the name of one’s teacher and Dor L’Dor, generation to generation, are two important concepts in Jewish education. They resonate strongly for me as I am honored to receive this prestigious award. My work as a teacher owes a tremendous debt to my teachers for their guidance, instruction, and support. And, I find value and meaning in my work as a teacher every time I sit with a group of students to learn Torah.

I have been thinking about the lessons I have crafted and the students who have guided me in teaching them. So many aspects of being a Jewish educator thrill and inspire me, but none quite so much as discovering Torah with b’nai mitzvah students. They remind me what it is to have “Beginner’s Mind” in approaching Torah. The freshness of their experience of this ancient text, the contemporary American lens through which they wrestle with it, ignites and refreshes my teaching and learning. It is the very essence of dor l’dor, generation to generation. Teaching Torah sustains me. I plan to continue far into the future.

To paraphrase Rabbi Ben Bag Bag in Pirkei Avot: Teach it and teach it again, for everything is in it. I have much yet to discover in it. Receiving this award inspires and excites me to keep engaging in the business of Torah, l’asok b’divrei Torah. For this, I thank you. It’s truly an extraordinary honor to join the many amazing educators in our community who have also been recipients of this most prestigious award.

Thank you to my teachers, my colleagues and all the students and families who have trusted me with the sacred task of bringing Torah into their lives. My gratitude goes to the people of Congregation Etz Chayim for hiring me, giving me the chance to grow in and tend their garden of learning, and for honoring me by nominating me. Thank you to the members of the award committee for recognizing my dedication and contribution. I am deeply grateful to the Helen Diller Family Foundation and Jackie Safier for creating this opportunity in our community to acknowledge and honor teachers. Thank you to the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and to both the Federation in the East Bay and Silicon Valley for their support. I do, indeed, feel deeply acknowledged and honored.

Todah Rabah.

Abra Greenspan is the recipient of the 2018 Helen Diller Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, congregational/community school category.

Categories: Awards, Endowment


June 11, 2018


Abra Greenspan