The speech made an impression every single time. And it was a speech I repeated to my students when we went on trips. It’s a speech I’ve repeated to my own children when we go places.
Children are children. Children and teens will get overexcited and misbehave. But we need to realize that the world does not look at Jewish children as children. They look at them as Jewish children. One need only look at the comments (several of which are blatantly antisemitic) below the news story to see that this is the truth. It’s a message that we as administrators, teachers and parents don’t always take to heart. In an era of self-expression, when everything has to be “fair”, we are not always as strict as we ought to be. I am not blaming the administration or chaperons of Yeshiva of Flatbush for these students’ behavior, and again, I think it could happen to any school- Jewish or not. And as I don’t have all the details, I am in no place to point blame. But I do think this is a teaching moment for us as leaders. How do we educate our children?
There is no question that schools have advanced in terms of teaching techniques and educational technology in comparison to the days when I was in school. But perhaps in some ways, we might be wise to revisit some of the ways of the past in hopes of reintroducing respect to our students.
About the Author: Ariela Davis is a native New Yorker, and the Rebbetzin of Charleston, South Carolina’s historic Orthodox synagogue, Brith Shalom Beth Israel. A veteran educato, she in New York, Israel and Houston, and was recently hired as the Judaic Studies Coordinator of Addlestone Hebrew Academy, Charleston’s Jewish day school. She writes a blog called Constant Comments, which includes meaningful and often humorous perspectives on her life as a Rebbbetzin in the deep South.
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