On the foundation of the highest academic standards and Jewish ethical and spiritual values, Milken Community High School develops students with sharp minds, generous hearts, and kind souls. We value each member of our pluralistic community while we foster a deep connection to Israel, a lifelong dedication to the Jewish people, and a passionate commitment to the service of humanity and the perfection of God's world.
Milken Community High School cultivates Judaism as a pluralistic, moral, spiritual, and intellectual way of life which, in the context of community, refines the human being (tikkun atzmi) and repairs the world (tikkun olam). Etched into the walls of Milken’s Beit Midrash (House of Study) is a passage from Pirke Avot which reads: “The world rests on three Pillars: Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Hasadim.”
These pillars are translated as: Learning (head), Service of the Heart or Spiritual Practice (heart), and Deeds of Loving Kindness or Ethical Practice (hands). Within these realms, the school fosters responsible, trusting, and thoughtful Jews who are morally, spiritually, and intellectually grounded and engaged in their love and practice of Judaism.
At Milken, each of these unique Pillars can be understood in this way:
Classically, Torah signifies the five books of Moses or the Written and Oral Law. The scope of Torah can be expanded to include Jewish history, literature, culture, civilization, sociology, and philosophy. At Milken, Torah connotes both traditional and modern Jewish learning. It also represents the ways in which Jewish learning can integrate and interact with other forms of a traditional curriculum. The school’s mission provides an opportunity to discover the possibilities of integrating these two educational components. Students with a deep grounding in the wisdom, values, rhythms, and practices of one’s own tradition are able to contribute to the world, and to one another.
Avodah (Spiritual Practice)
Avodah can be broadly translated as orientation or direction (kavanah); the ways in which a person is connected to larger stories, patterns, and traditions. This pillar represents the ongoing exploration into the meanings of the Covenant and how an individual is related to and responsible for the self, the community, the Jewish people, nature, and God. Milken students practice traditional, liberal, and experimental forms of prayer and meditation. As a Jewish community school, Milken is committed to identifying with and celebrating the cycles and rhythms of Jewish time. The school helps students develop their own Aggadah (narrative or story), so that they, too, can understand where they fit in God's plan.
Gemilut Hasadim (Ethical Practice)
Learning requires identification and direction, which, in turn, must then become deed. Halahah can be understood as law or the concrete way one walks through life. With only Aggadah, there is vision without action, vain strivings, pipe dreams – “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Central to our school’s values is the tradition of mitzvot, understood as commandments, commitments, or concrete deeds.
Gemilut Hasadim means imitating God through the way one welcomes guests or strangers, visits the sick, or comforts mourners. At Milken, ethical practice takes on numerous forms, it’s reflected in the classroom, the school environment, and the quality of community service and social action. Through students’ learning, speech, and deeds, they will join in the effort to enhance the scope of their responsibility and the depth of their menschlikeit by responding to the dignity of each other and all human beings who are created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.