As a boy I attended a Yeshiva (Jewish parochial school) in the Bronx. We began the day with six hours of Hebrew subjects. After lunch we had five hours of English subjects. My 4th grade teacher for one of those English classes was Mr. Lipton.
He was tall, with red hair and a quiet way about him. He struck me and my friends as a kind-hearted person who cared about his students.
Mr. Lipton introduced us to Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. We would take out our books and Mr. Lipton would read to us from the books as we followed along. He had a fetching voice which drew you into the story. I remember being entranced by the books and I still remember them.
Then there was his guitar. Mr. Lipton taught us to sing folk songs, some were Spanish tunes. Here we were, 4th grade Yeshiva students and he opened our eyes to a wider world of which most of us were unaware.
Part of being Jewish, we learned from Mr. Lipton, was not only loving and studying Jewish texts. It was not just being immersed in Jewish questions. It was Mr. Lipton’s legacy every weekday afternoon to remind us there was a larger world out there and we should be aware of it. And most important he taught us to think and ask good questions.
To Mr. Lipton, thank you for being you.