web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Let Us Convert Meanness To Kindness


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The e-mails keep coming in response to my recent columns on compassion. Last week I shared one of them with you; here is another one. We once again see that the readership of The Jewish Press is comprised of many segments of our society with a wide range of opinions, values and traditions.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

I write from a secular point of view, meaning no offense and having nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for you.

I was deeply touched by the letter from the mother whose daughter’s educational experience was so traumatic. This woman and her husband tried to do everything for the girl, addressing her problems and reaching out to the professionals one is supposed to turn to. While I don’t know if there were any other external influences affecting this young girl’s behavior, there is, nevertheless, no excuse for the callousness and meanness with which she was treated. The persons in authority at her school should have responded to her needs with alacrity.

I assume the parents were paying for this girl’s education, but regardless, the teachers and principal had no right to the countenance the torment this child was exposed to. How dare those professionals not take action and at least attempt some sort of mediation on her behalf? Sadly, I’ve heard too many stories of young people “falling through the cracks” as the result of such unconscionable neglect.

We like to hope that those who are trained to be educators and caretakers of the young take their mission seriously. Not only does this not hold true but we witness just the opposite. Any school founded on the inculcating tenets of its faith – whatever that faith may be – should practice what it preaches and teaches. First and foremost, the school’s administrative and teaching staffs should put the needs of students above all and be sensitive to their suffering.

Our culture has been polluted in all areas. The hypocrisy, the cruelty, the indifference, the lies, the corruption can be found everywhere – in politics, government, sports, Hollywood, and even our religious institutions, where people should know better. It seems that hardly anyone cares about the welfare of his or her neighbor/student/acquaintance. And this indifference, this selfishness, has penetrated our Jewish institutions.

What did the little girl to receive such abysmal treatment from ostensibly educated and committed adults charged with responsibility for her religious, secular and spiritual education? How can our educational leaders be guilty of such betrayal? How can they respond to the anguished parents who entrusted their precious little ones to their care? And, it must be asked, where was the family’s rabbi?

The little girl is now an adult, married with a child of her own, but the scars are there, affecting her and her future generations. Having said all that, I would remind her family of a simple but very powerful teaching – as long as there is life, there is hope. Damage cannot be erased but – if one truly desires – it can be overcome.

I understand that kids, no matter how loving and religious their homes and families, can still be damaged by the meanness and selfishness of others. It is easy to succumb to peer pressure. Such pressures are difficult if not impossible barriers to overcome. As you have said, we have to teach kindness and generosity to our children since they are not born with those character traits. But when children reach an age when they should know better and still exhibit cruelty and nastiness, it can only mean that somewhere along the line that message was not communicated to them.

Parents don’t like saying “no” to their children. They want their kids to like them. At a certain point, however, a parent or caregiver has to stand firm, and when a child demonstrates bad behavior that child must be told bluntly to “knock it off.” And if children are known to be mistreating a schoolmate or neighbor, those children need to be rebuked in no uncertain terms. “I’m the parent” [or “I’m the teacher” or “I’m the rabbi”]; “behave yourself or face the consequences.” While I realize you can’t make children like or hang out with each other, you can enforce decent, respectful conduct, whether in school, the home or a religious institutional setting.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Let Us Convert Meanness To Kindness”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. President Barack Obama
Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/let-us-convert-meanness-to-kindness/2013/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: