Monday, July 23, 2012
I have just completed another semester of teaching at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.It was a summer class of students most of whom live year round in distant locations i.e.Toronto ,Canada, Israel. The class title is Jewish Social Philosophy in which we explore philosophical issues such as the value of time, the notion of change and the reality of suffering, and relate them to the field of social work practice. I was blessed with 23 bright, sensitive and genuinely caring individuals of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds.Largely Jewish,and orthodox, there were students of Afro-American, Dominican, and Haitian background, and of other faith affiliations -Christian, Bhuddist,secular. All contributed to the diverse and beautiful bouquet of intellectual, emotional and spiritual colors and fragrances that enriched the class experience and made this semester a time for which to be profoundly grateful. It is somewhat platitudinous to state that we all learn from each other, that teachers often learn more from student than vice versa-all this was amazingly and refreshingly true in this summer experinece of gaining insight and a growing sense of gratitude for the presence of such human beings in the world. While the field of social work is being constantly challenged as a profession by virtue of the difficult economy and the increasing intensity and scope of human problems in our society, the hope endures that with students such as the ones I had the privilege to teach, social work will bring much needed light and service to the many dark corners of our world. I am grateful for this renewed sense of hope.