Friday, March 25, 2011

A Word from the Director: 3/25/2011

We live in such confusing and challenging times. The world around us changes in a flash. Japan, one of the most powerful countries in the world, is in crisis and their people can’t even drink water over concerns regarding radiation. The United States is at war with Libya. And our beloved land has to deal with terror attacks and bus bombings again. I lived in Israel for seventeen years and lived through many attacks, funerals, shiva visits, hatzala zaka, people stopping to visit Israel, survivors, and amputees with families. We all look for answers and there aren’t any good ones. We hope for the best and maybe one day we will understand.

Our kids are just as confused. As much as we try to shelter our kids from everything around, we can’t. We have to create an environment where our kids can participate in discussion, in a safe and comfortable place. We mustn’t overexpose them to everything, but let them know that we want them to come to us to discuss things and not get the information elsewhere. Our kids are bombarded with messages around them day in and day out - either from the media or the billboards and everywhere else. We have to learn to communicate with them. Our kids are not naïve; we may be the ones who are naïve, to think that our kids don’t see everything going on. We live in a large Jewish community, baruch Hashem. We have to remember that going three blocks north and three blocks south, is out of the community. We have a responsibility to give them a reason to stay connected to Yiddishkeit. We have to make it passionate and not just a routine. If we don’t then they will find passion elsewhere. We know that it’s not real out there - but they don’t; what they see is exciting and appears to be real. We have to learn and to teach our kids to communicate with us. How many times do I hear from parents and Rebbeim “I can’t believe my kids are into that and hanging around with them!” I am speaking to myself and letting you eavesdrop; chas veshalom I should give mussar!

For all of you with high school graduates for kids: It is so important that you go to yeshiva - but which yeshiva? Many of the boys will go to Eretz Yisroel for a year or two. I have been getting so many calls from concerned parents regarding where to send their kids. What type of yeshiva, how much freedom does it have, etc. Eretz Yisroel is awesome but there are plenty of challenges and dangers. We have a good relationship with many of the boys’ yeshivas. If we can help or at least be a good sounding board, please feel free to call.

One final point: I have dealt with many kids and their parents this week. It is crucial that parents are on the same page when dealing with issues. If kids see that their parents have conflicting ideas, they will take advantage of that and point fingers at one parent over the other, knowing they have support from one of the two. We parents don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to have to put on a united front for many issues when we deal with our kids.

May this week be a quieter and calmer week for all of us.

Good Shabbos

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

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