Last night we had our first JFGD board meeting of the year. At the end of our meeting, several board members shared stories that were not only inspirational, but reminded me of the importance of educating our Jewish children so they can proudly represent their religion and culture to the general community.
The first story shared at the meeting was about a local school club which posted articles about areas of conflict in the world, including the Israeli/Palestinian situation. As our board member stated “The president of the club felt this was a fair and balanced synopsis of the conflict.” However, the board member’s child quickly recognized that the article was not fair and balanced, but rather full of selective “facts.” The student took the article to the principal, who immediately recognized the inaccuracies represented and addressed it. Our board member said “I was immensely impressed by the knowledge shown by the administrator, and his sensitivity in handling the situation.”
Another board member shared that her child is struggling with misconceptions about Israel at his school. He is a founding member of his college’s first Jewish fraternity, and the board member is delighted her child is helping to bring Judaism to his college campus, and hopefully bring truth and knowledge regarding Judaism and Israel to his fellow classmates.
This is a small glimpse of the challenges Jewish children face today. In a time when we have so much knowledge at our fingertips, we have to remember there is also a lot of misinformation just as easily accessible. We are very fortunate for synagogue and temple youth groups, BBYO, college Hillels, and many other programs, for they allow our youth to not only bond with other Jewish children and young adults, but to also gain knowledge and information, empowering them to address issues like the ones mentioned earlier.
Another great resource for information is the Israel Action Network, a program of JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America). Their mission is to build a strong base of support for Israel and counter delegitimization in the context of two states for two peoples. I would strongly encourage you to visit their website by clicking here.
Hopefully there will come a day when we don’t have to defend ourselves, our religion, or our culture. Until then, I am proud to know that we as a Federation work every day to educate our community and provide support and resources to those who encounter misinformation and mistruth.