Devarim, last of the five books of the Torah, is also called Mishneh Torah—“A Repetition of Torah.” In it Moses speaks directly to the Jewish people, recalling the major events and laws that are recorded in the Torah’s other four books. One might wonder why this repetition is necessary. Did Moshe Rabbeinu—“Moses our teacher”—feel his students were in need of a review? In fact, this repetition was so important that Moses dedicated the last days of his life to it. Clearly, it was necessary to insuring the future of his beloved nation . . .

We often hear talk about the “Jewish future.” How will we overcome the threat of assimilation and inspire the younger generation to care about their heritage? There are task forces, studies and conferences all focusing on this issue.

Inspired by the book of Devarim, I’d like to suggest that the best way to insure a Jewish future is through Jewish education. The first choice is a Jewish day school, which provides young people with all the knowledge and skills they need to live as Jews in the modern world. The second choice is an after-school or Sunday Hebrew school.

Sadly, many Jewish children receive little or no Jewish education. This emerging generation is growing up without any idea of what Judaism has to offer. At this time of year school is on our minds, as parents make plans, enroll their children and calculate tuition. As people who care about the Jewish future, we should be doing everything in our power to encourage parents to choose Jewish schools for their children.

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge. If you already send your children to a Jewish school, how about encouraging others to follow suit? Perhaps you know parents hesitating to enroll their child in a Jewish kindergarten, or a college student who needs a push to visit Israel. Speak up. The decision is too serious for us to remain silent.

Often, it’s a financial issue. Communities should consider channeling charitable contributions to address this problem. Our local community has created a program called “Passport to Jewish Education.” Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, California, it offers scholarships to children in Jewish schools and programs. Similar programs exist around the country, and more can be created.

Let’s consider the facts: The values of Judaism enrich us; they provide us with a moral center, spiritual depth and purpose. They link us to thousands of years of tradition that reach back to Mount Sinai, when G‑d gave the Torah to the Jewish people. It’s hard to think of anything that could be more important.

Perhaps Moses spent his last days on earth repeating lessons he had already taught to underscore the necessity of education. The chain of history is only as strong as the weakest link. We need to ensure that the next generation remains connected to their heritage and understands the depth and richness that Judaism has to offer. Education is the key. The future is in our hands.