About Us

Kol HaKavod News is an outreach in a new direction in Jewish periodicals taking into account the changing demographics of the society at large and the particular needs of our community. Today’s 50+ adult population faces opportunities and challenges that in some ways are very different from those of their parents. Read More

Why Advertise With us?

Kol HaKavod News is an efficient and effective strategy to promote your products and services to a targeted, valued population group. Become associated with....Read More

In the Box and Out Of the Box

Please consider if you will, the following occurrences:

♦I approached a child in a medical center in Kiryas Yoel and jokingly asked him “vus machs de [how are you feeling]?” And the 4 year old reacted excitedly

“Yoy, mommy, kic, de goy ret Yiddish [I don’t believe it mommy, come see, the gentile can speak Yiddish]!”

♦I entered a Jewish patient’s room conducting my routine volunteer Bikur Cholim rounds in the hospital. The patient was firm. I hadn’t opened my mouth. I hadn’t said a word.

“No, I don’t want anything. I have nothing to give.”

♦A non-affiliated physician attended a religious wedding of one of his patients and was overwhelmed by the high number of disabled and handicapped relatives in attendance. He approached the celebrants some time later to inquire and learn about the genetic family malformation.

♦I needed change for the parking meter and was advised that the neighborhood bar would be able to accommodate me. Curious, I asked the bartender “What is your most popular scotch?”

“We don’t serve much scotch here. This is an Irish pub.”

In the Box

These episodes have some commonality. While amusing on one level and seemingly innocuous, they are problematic on another. We tend to put people in boxes.

The young child was taught that Jews talk and dress in one specific manner

The hospital bed bound patient felt that all orthodox rabbis wearing a wide fedora hat are solicitors, looking for a hand out.

The good physician assumed that there is high incidence of familial intermarriage within the Chassidic community.

The Scotch and Irish of  course have a history of contention, but I was totally ignorant of the depthof its implications, as it played out here in the United States. As I reflected on these instances and thought about the  rough  and  tumble of current events, the nuclear arms negotiations as an example, I conjured up lyrics to a popular late 50s early  60s folksong:

Kingston Trio’s “Merry Minuet

(tongue and cheek)

They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain.

There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.

The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.

Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch.

And I don’t like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and proud,

And we know for certain that some lovely day

Someone will set the spark off, and we will all be blown away.

They’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran.

What nature doesn’t do to us, will be done by our fellow man.

Sheldon Harnick 1953

 Though composed in 1953, we can replace some of the names, but the message is hauntingly the same for 2015 (as of late, Texas does not need rain).

We know from history that myopia  and ignorance may ultimately lead to bias, prejudice and hateful action. Is there nothing that can be done? Shall we simply accept the circumstance as the natural human condition? Is there no way out of the box?

I reached out to a prominent, highly regarded, Jewish educator for his opinion on the matter and received his response.

out of the Box

-What would you advise?

Make sure that you and your spouse and other members of your nuclear family as well as any other significant adults in the lives of your children accept, embrace, and respect all people regardless of race, color or creed.

Make sure to enroll your children in schools whose faculty, administration and other employees and constituents are of  a similar demeanor — not in what they profess but in how they act.

Expose your children to the world around them by travelling with them as often as time and budget allow.

Expose your children to appropriate videos, you tubes, etc. whose message is acceptance, tolerance and respect for all people, while reserving admiration for those who are deserving of admiration because they live the values which you espouse.

That’s enough for starters. Ve-idach zil gmor.

-Should we just accept the circumstance as the human condition?

Absolutely not. If you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem.

Comments are closed.