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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On Intolerance

Marvin Schick actually wrote something this week over on Cross-Currents that I agree with. Apparently, there was a letter in this week's Yated in which a man extolled the virtues of the trips that were arranged for Chol Hamoed this Pesach. He was evidently very pleased that these trips were of an exclusive nature, with many of the sites closed to anyone who was not of a certain persuasion. In the man's own words: “It comforted me that we were surrounded by Yidden only, and were not exposed to the hashpa’ah of some of the parks and sites that were not open exclusive to Yidden on Chol Hamoed."

Mr. Schick takes this man to task, saying that "We have been on these shores for approximately two generations. We have benefited from the blessings of liberty, from the ideal of tolerance. Do we expect that others will respect us if we can’t show a modicum of respect toward them?"

Unfortunately, the attitude expressed by this letter-writer is all too common in the Orthodox world. In large part, this is a function of the mindset of many of our educators. As a commentor on Mr. Schick's post said: "I’m afraid one would have to be an ostrich to suggest that our boys and girls are not being taught in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways not to fully respect the humanity of non-Jews." But the problem is just as prevalent in our homes. How many times have I sat as a guest at a shabbos table, only to hear the host or another guest make a derogatory joke or remark about a member of another ethnic group. On those occasions, as I sat cringing, I was never sure what was worse, the fact that there were children sitting at the table and overhearing the comment, or the fact that there was non-Jewish household help in the kitchen overhearing the comment. Neither makes us look very good.

Bottom line is, it is absolutely imperative that we cut this mentality off at the pass. We need to show our children by example how important it is to have respect for those around us, Jewish or not.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Mom, take a Midol.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Kiki said...

Totally agree with you. If anyone were to make an antisemitic comment every would be up in arms. But it seems Jews have no problem making racist remarks.

I teach my kids that it is unacceptable to use the word "goy", and any other connotations. If I were in a situation like a shabbat dinner with kids at the table adn a derogatory remark were made about a different ethnic group, I would take the speaker to task in front of everyone. How can we be tolerant with such ignorance?

terms like "jew him down". "he gypped me" etc - these are all offensive remarks and should not be spoken.

If we want to be surrounded by like people all the time, go live in meah shearim. In North America we are surrounded by a multitude of cultures and creeds and we should celebrate diversity.

Anonymous - go stick your head back in the sand. Every hear of "if you have nothing nice ot say say nothing??"

These insular people give us all a bad name.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

The intolerance lessons we teach our children start at an early age, and the biggest lessons we teach usually involve other "frum" jews who go to "the other school" or daven at "that shul."

Anyone who speaks English and says Shvartza in front of my wife is in for quite an earful.

9:29 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

LOL, airtime, she sounds like we would get along great!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Shifra said...

I commented elsewhere on this topic but I totally agree with your assesment.
I'm a shabbos groups morah (in addition to my paying job) and every year when I teach the kids the bracha "shelo asani goy" I ask the kids if they know what the word "goy" means. Inevitabely some child tells me it means a "bad person." Then I let the reeducation begin!

It's one thing to consider ourselves as the am hanivchar (the chosen people) it's another to consider all non-jews as sub-human or evil.

12:10 PM  
Blogger dilbert said...

Well I got me a family a fine mishpacha
I daven every day according to Halacha
Each and every day I say a Bracha

Thank God lo asani goy

(to be sung to John Denver's classic- from an album whose name I long ago forgot)

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, I agree with your point, I just thought you might enjoy the lyrics.

dilbert

9:38 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Whew.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Mirty said...

I totally agree with you O-Mom. (but you probably knew that) :)

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