This article really encouraged me recently.
Why? As well as living in Israel as a Christian supporting Jewish people, when I moved to London in 2014 I started doing IT for schools for a big mainstream secondary school close the outskirts of the M25 motorway. I did this for a year and moved on to various other jobs. More recently in 2017, I worked again for a well known Jewish private school (although not JFS) for just over a year.
I really liked my employer for lots of reasons. I didn’t even ‘choose’ to work in a school again, and didn’t realise it was Jewish until I drove up to the gates for my last minute interview, I had just finished some contract work for a big famous American company in London’s city centre. The teaching standard is high, as were the expectations of the pupils. Unlike the previous place, I rarely saw any kind of fights of bad behaviour. The staff were great to deal with, although the job was high pressure and the IT setup wasn’t in the greatest of shape and several projects were a long way behind. Some things made up for it, having Jewish holidays off, and really great canteen which is £2 to each anything you want, the food is kosher of course but a really great choice of healthy and quality meals, I usually had salmon on Wednesday, but also sitting down and eating with staff who about 50% are Jewish, who I know I am a Christian and my interest in Israel and Bible history.
I learned more things about Jewish culture that I didn’t learn in Israel. When the school was shut (for the kids) over the summer holidays I was busy working, installing software, testing projectors, in one of the religious studies room, I picked up a Tanakh, (what Jewish people call what Christians call an Old Testament) these books are the real word of God, but alas has commentaries from Rashi on them that show crucially important texts that predict the coming of Messiah Jesus are actually something different. But also with this school and about 4 other UK Jewish schools I visited, may have the walls covered pictures, drawings and celebrations related to Jewish holidays, famous Rabbis, photos of Israel, France Netherlands and Poland to see Jewish history, I never actually saw quotes of scripture. So where the Jewish kids would put on their straps and boxes on their heads faithfully each morning and do prayers, it didn’t occur to me that verses of the bible weren’t ever used to express encouragement or affirmation in a public way like Christians do. Still, I enjoyed my regular chats with different staff on more lower key (well, this is my workplace) religious matters, and also with things that interest me in computer studies, science, geography, and history. So what have I learned? Judaism and Christianity have some wonderful common framework, although different in other ways with certain traditions.
I visited the library, this was moved to another building, the school needed to get rid of some books which were in a box to give away, so I got a nice Hebrew dictionary set, and some smaller books I gave to some close Christian friends who love Israel. I had to install a new wifi point and replace 5 tired old Core2duo PCs with shiny new HP i5 all in one units. Whilst there I looked through a religious section which had ‘other religions’ only to not see anything related to the life of Jesus or the New Testament. There was some teaching on Christianity (which is required by curriculum) but sadly only brief bits on the life of Martin Luther.
So for the JFS to have actually explicit teaching on the life of Jesus Christ is really encouraging news for me, Jewish schools are quite competitive on marketing on getting more submissions for next term, so I am hoping the rest of the Jewish schools would follow suit on not shying away from the best Jewish teacher ever, Yeshua the Messiah.
Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.”