Har Nof, Israel – After having been abruptly disinvited by one haredi school in Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin opened the school year at another haredi school in the capital’s Har Nof neighborhood with a message to the pupils that study was crucial to enabling citizens to contribute to the society they live in.
The president had been scheduled to visit the Talmud Torah Kehilat Yaakov in the Ramot neighborhood, but the school disinvited him last week because of his strong support of the gay and lesbian community in the remarks he made following the stabbing at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem last month.
While attending the Talmud Torah Dibrot Moshe on Sunday morning, Rivlin took part in a seventh grade class and quizzed the children on a section of the Talmud they were studying about the importance and centrality of a teacher in the lives of children.
“The teacher must always remember that he bears his responsibility alone. He must take the responsibility for educating every one of his pupils, to ensure they take the correct path and a successful path,” Rivlin told the children.
The president moved on to a first grade class who were studying the first book of the Bible and also learning the Hebrew alphabet.
“We are commanded to study but we are also happy to study so that we can do the most important things for our city, for our state, and for our family,” Rivlin told them.
Following widespread publicity about the withdrawal by Talmud Torah Kehilat Yaakov of its invitation, the President’s Office was contacted by numerous haredi organizations and institutions that said that even though they could not for reasons pertaining to Jewish law condone homosexuality, they had nothing against the president or against homosexuals per se, and would be delighted to welcome the president whenever he cares to come.