In the words of Maimonides, he who acts not out of fear of punishment or hope of reward walks in the path of wisdom; he does what is right simply because it is right. But who should tell us and who should tell our children what right is and what truth is? We, adults, already know that if one seeks understanding, one need only follow the advice of Socrates: “gnothi seauton” — know thyself, because truth lies within each person. In Jewish tradition “Cheshbon Ha-Nefesh”, the duty of constant moral accounting of one’s soul, expresses the same principle.
I came to Lauder School thirteen years ago. My son, Peter, was attending Lauder Kindergarten at the time. The previous summer I had been trekking in India, visiting the secluded Buddhist monastery of Kanam in the Himalayas, an important location in the life of Sándor Kőrösi Csoma. I was telling the pre-schoolers stories about the wondrous world of Tibet. Also present was dr. Anna Szeszler, the principal at the time. Soon afterwards she invited me to head the secondary school. That is how it started…
Our work here at Lauder School consists of teaching and education. The goals of teaching are not limited to mastering a curriculum, they also encompass a loving inspiration of stimulating self-knowledge as well as setting authentic examples. When it comes to education, we believe it is not simply about advocating how to behave in a society that is attempting to control all aspects of one’s life, it is just as important to learn about how to accept all things that a person consists of and that one holds dear - in others. In the eloquent words of the poet, Attila József: “Bathing your face in yourself is vain, only in somebody else can you be washed.” We reinforce the notion of being considerate to others and our environment.
For me, the issue of liberty is of paramount importance. As a physicist, I believe in everything that human freedom may mean, and am fully aware of the great responsibility that goes with exercising these liberties. I think that experiencing total freedom is a rare moment, which I have been fortunate enough to capture on multiple occasions. I have felt thus while seeking solutions to complex mathematical problems and also in descending snowy slopes following a successful summit push on a mountain. In beholding the beautiful geometry of the chess board and in touching the cover of an old book, thus spanning generations. As a passionate teacher it has always been my goal to share these feelings to the greatest possible extent with my students and to instill in them a desire to truly experience such magical moments.
In alliance with the families that choose us, we wish to bring up our children so that they become open, thoughtful, responsible and self-aware adults who are ready to accept others. On this path we should be guided by the inspiring cultural tradition of the past of Hungarian Jewry. A tradition vastly successful in teaching and education, and some of the chief values of which are the love of books, asking challenging questions and a respect for creativity.
Gábor Horányi, principal of Lauder Javne Jewish Community School