Create the Safe Space
Jewish parents everywhere are faced with a unique challenge while coping with today's rising antisemitism and attacks on Israel - how do we speak to our children about the evil in the world?
We want nothing more than to protect our beautiful, curious young minds from the horrors, while helping them to understand why people would do this, and what it means for our Jewish future, and theirs.
This has been a challenge we have faced when trying to transmit the experiences and lessons of the horrors of the Holocaust. No one could have imagined we would again be faced with having to "explain" once again the depravity of human behavior in our civilized world. But the responsibility is clear - we the parents must find the ways to speak to our children while doing our best to prevent the pain and heartbreak.
Creating a peaceful and calm space, using soft voices, avoiding graphic detail, and allowing our children the freedom to ask and express themselves, we can touch upon the thoughts and feelings they are harboring inside. To explain the massacre, the attacks, and the war on the Jews in Israel and the world most effectively, we can open the discussions with questions - what have they heard? What questions do they have? The calm we maintain in our response, and answering in a general explanation that incorporates a message of hope and strength, are the first steps to helping them navigate the unimaginable confusion and prevent the pain, fear, anxiety or despair that can come from exposure to the evils of our world. We can emphasize that our people have suffered tragedies in each generation, and that by learning about them, we do not have to absorb their pain, but rather inherit the courage and pride of standing up for our rights as Jews and maintaining our faith in God who has enabled us to outlast every enemy that seeks our destruction.