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It was only hours ago that Shavuot came to a close, the holiday on which the Jewish people celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai approximately 3,500 years ago. The Torah tells us there were 600,000 men at that event, and maybe as many as 2 to 3 million people once we count all the women and children. The teachings handed down that day are as relevant now as they were then, and they also constitute the lesson plan for the first day of Hebrew School for the Jewish people.

Ironically, if we were to gather millions of our people in one place today – especially American Jews – the one thing on which they would agree is how much they disliked Hebrew School. Virtually no one has fond memories of weekday afternoons and Sundays spent learning the Aleph Bet, preparing for Jewish holidays or memorizing prayers from the siddur.

And, while I count myself among them, there is one part of my Jewish education that still makes me smile: The Adventures of K’tonton, the little Jewish Tom Thumb. Not only did we read about the escapades of the endearing little boy created by Sadie Rose Wellerstein in the 1930’s, we had a K’tonton action figure we passed around the classroom. Even better, our teachers rewarded students who behaved well by letting them take K’tonton home for a few nights. Life didn’t get any better than that!

With everything happening in the world today, we could all use K’tonton in our lives. He is a source of friendship, resilience and pride, all of which we need more today than at any time in the recent past. K’tonton is also the embodiment of Jewish joy, an enthusiastic and adventurous seeker of connection and knowledge.

As the formative stage of Global Jewry comes to a close, and we ready ourselves to start realizing the full potential of the amazing collective we have spent a year creating, we will be sure to keep K’tonton in mind.

He will serve as a reminder of all that is special and magical about being part of the Jewish people, a source of strength on the tough days and an inspiration to cherish every moment on the good ones.

He may even help us recall that maybe Hebrew school wasn’t so bad after all.

Shabbat shalom and may this be the week the hostages return home safely,

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