They say that a teacher has achieved their mission in life if they change but one pupil’s life; while I was in primary school, one very serious maths teacher and athletics coach Mrs Holtz gave us our weekly homily in assembly and she was telling us about Rosh Hashanah, although I cannot remember the intricacies of the celebration I do remember being entranced as she explained all the meanings and origins within the ceremonial deeds.
Most striking to me was that one had to clear up any arguments or disputes from the last year by apologising, as to move on with no grievances. However, how many times can you apologise when forgiveness won’t be granted? Well Mrs. Holtz explained that because saying sorry is such a humbling experience, three apologies are required because after that there is nothing more you can do.
This memory has stuck with me years later; I attended a predominantly Christian primary school and was quite starry eyed when I heard about other cultures and religions. This notion of finding out what others celebrate, practice or believe in has always interested me, it is also the notion that every belief system no matter how marred or misunderstood its reputation has aspects of respect at its core.