Last week marked the shloshim since the passing of Professor Reuven Feuerstein z”l. May the world merit to always have passionate thinkers like him who dare to dream aloud.
An Open Letter to my Children
ר׳׳ח אייר תשע׳׳ד
1st May 2014
To my children
Rachel Emuna, Chani, Yitzchak and little Hillel,
I write this letter to you at a time when the world has lost a great light, at a time where the loss of a great man is felt by many, including us.
But I am not writing to talk to you about sadness. I am writing because I want you to realise how blessed we have been as a family, and how blessed each one of you has been. Seven years ago we were privileged to meet Professor Feuerstein as we embarked upon our family’s journey. He provided for us a anchor of hope, confidence, and inspiration and has been there as a guide and mentor for us ever since.
Whilst he himself will no longer be physically present in our journey, his legacy must live on in all of us. There may be a time when you do not remember your encounter with the Professor, but there must never be a time when you forget his teachings.
There are many situations in life where we lose confidence in ourselves, in our siblings, or in our peers. We make judgements of people’s abilities, understanding and intelligence. The professor taught us never to say ‘I can’t’ but rather ‘how can I?’. Believe in yourselves and reach for the sky. With the help of heaven you can learn and achieve, regardless of any factors that may inhibit you. If you see others struggling, look to problem solve with them before you make a call on what they can or cant do. Help mediate the environment for them, and enjoy empowering them to succeed.
Each one of you was privy to step inside the Professor’s office. Before reaching the desk behind which he sat, all our eyes would wander around the paraphernalia hung on the walls around the room. There were the academic accolades present and past, dating back to the days of studying under Piaget in Europe. There was a painting of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and other spiritual inspirations in his life. And there were photographs of past pupils at milestones in their lives. At first glance these appeared ordinary achievements: weddings, passing driving tests, soldiers being sworn in to the army. Yet you should realise that for these individuals these tasks were immense challenges that many would have deemed impossible for them. It was due to the Professor’s philosophy and tireless work that they came to pass. Then our eyes would reach the professor. In these recent years when we met him he appeared a smaller figure behind that large oak desk. Yet we left with the magic of his ever sparkling eyes, and his razor sharp advice.
It was in that office that some of our family foundations were born: the importance of seeking out the potential in every one you meet, the importance of mediation in our lives, and the feeling of absolute pleasure in being part of the family that we are. It is my fervent hope that long after you forget the oak desk, you will retain the energy and belief system that was bequeathed there.
On our first meeting with the Professor, when Rachel Emuna was just a few weeks old, he looked at us and with his wise eyes advised us to ‘prepare for her wedding’. He believed that this marker of independence would be attainable.
On our last meeting we joked about sending him an invitation. He reiterated his blessing, and we bestowed wishes of longevity and good health. Rachel Emuna, the professor will not be there dancing at your wedding, nor will he be advising us at each step of our journey together. But his passion, belief, and exclamations of ‘bravo’ will dance onward with us.
Feuerstein methodology is now taught around the world. The Feuerstein Institute and those who work there embody and will continue to perpetuate the amazing work that has been done to date.
Yet the four of you have had the unique experience of having a personal interaction with the the professor. As such you now have the privilege of being ambassadors for this belief in human potential. Believe in each other and help each other climb to great heights. In so doing, just like Professor Feuerstein, you can change the world.