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May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
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It’s My Opinion: A Deadly Initiation

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The recent death of a Florida A&M band member has resulted in an examination of hazing in FAMU and in other universities throughout the country. Drum major Robert Champion is said to have suffered a severe beating in a hazing incident on a band trip. The injuries caused internal bleeding. He went into shock and died. Hazing is a form of initiation ritual. It creates permission to abuse and it promotes the idea that being abused is acceptable in certain circumstances. The concept carries grave danger.

Why would an intelligent college student go along with such horrific violence? What would cause his peers to engage in a frenzy of sadistic excess? How fragile is the veneer of civility? How strong is the phenomenon of mob psychology?

Human beings long for acceptance. People want to belong. Perhaps this young man felt he just needed to bite the bullet if he wanted to be a part of the marching band.

The most shocking part of this terrible incident is the fact that there was no one who stepped in to say “Enough!” Sometimes bad things happen when good people do nothing, and sometimes bad things happen when good people get swept into the fray.

New members of a group should never be made to run through a gauntlet. They should be greeted with open arms and not blows to their body.

Hazing and other types of bullying reach across a wide range of society. They occur on secular campuses and also, unfortunately, in Jewish schools and settings. The Jewish world is not exempt. Parents and administrators need to be vigilant in handling this phenomenon and children should be given clear-cut warnings. There needs to be zero tolerance.

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.


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Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

South-Florida-logo

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

They may have taken the required courses, scored well on the tests, and earned good grades.

“We wanted to shed light on the mystery that surrounds biblical interpretations. This really is an eye-opening course.”

“This added dimension helps the girls with their hashkafa and ability to educate their children. The added light of chassidus helps combat the darkness children are exposed to on a daily basis.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/its-my-opinion-a-deadly-initiation/2012/01/12/

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