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After Pittsburgh Shooting, Rabbis Talk to Children About Responding to Hate

Answering children's questions about hate and violence I work with a lot of preteens who are preparing for their bar…

Answering children’s questions about hate and violence

I work with a lot of preteens who are preparing for their bar or bat mitzvah. De forstår ikke hvorfor folk hater jødiske folk. De er skræmte om sikkerheds- og sikkerhedssituationen på synagoger, jødiske sommerlejre og jødiske samfundscentre.

– Rabbi Jason Miller, Congregation B’nai, Israel, Toledo, Ohio (Conservative)

] Yesterday morning, while driving a few third and fourth degrees from our Congregation Beth Israel community, along with my older sons, I listened in to their conversation. One of the children mentioned the tragic mass shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Though I wanted to immediately interject, I remembered a wise council from educators in our community, and I allowed for the conversation to carry on. En af de barn i bilen ville gerne høre hvor mange mennesker blev drept. En annan barn svarade at det var 11 personer.

A third child noted that this man was like Haman [the Prime Minister of Persia who, in the story of Purim, tried to kill all the Jews in the kingdom]. Another child responded that this man was worse than Haman, because Haman failed to kill anyone, and this person succeeded.

Another child made a joke about the murderer and what he would do to him, and another child responded that this was “serious.” They then went on to talk about sports. 19659014] At that moment, I was thankful for our children’s resilience and felt deeply appreciative of the depth and richness of our tradition that sadly provided the children with a helpful narrative frame to make sense of a world that seems so senseless.

Rabbi Yonatan Cohen, Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley, Calif.

I listened, affirmed and reassured.

– Rabbi Amy Loewenthal, Congregation Ahavas Achim, Keene, NH (Reconstructionist)

As a rabbi who educates and counsels teenagers, I think it is vitally important to balance two messages. Det første budskapet er at hate is real, og at der er folk som er fulle av at hate (især hatred af “andre”) og har adgang til militærvåben som et problem som vores nation må konfrontere. Jewish teens in my community in New Jersey and across the U.S. feel a direct connection between Parkland and Pittsburgh.

The second message is that our response, from the first responders to all those who offer comfort and support, gives us a glimpse of the world we want to create.

– Rabbi Daniel Brenner, chief of education and programming for Moving Traditions a mentoring program for Jewish teens, Montclair, NJ

I held a session with my bar / bat mitzvah students about the tragedy in Pittsburgh. I want them to understand that we can not prevent all bad things from happening but we can choose our response. We talked about the outpouring of support that brought people together across all lines of difference after the massacre. Mostly I listened to the children.

– Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City, Philadelphia

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