web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Only El Al and British Airways continued to fly routine flights in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport.
Did the US Let Hamas Rule Israel’s Skies?
Latest Judaism Stories
The Yabok River

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

Lenny1

Will Your brothers go to war, while you sit (in peace) here? (Bamidbar 32:6)

PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Let us shake the heavens. Let us not stop until our boys and all our people are liberated from bondage.

Loving-kindness can cure the anger and bitterness in our poisonous world.

The Hebrew word for coincidence is mikreh, which comes from “karah min Hashem – it happened from G-d.”

Saying “thank you” to people to whom we are indebted is humbling – especially if we’ve been raised in a culture of entitlement.

To his very last day he struggled to transcend his pain so that he might impart Torah to all who visited him.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: