How should parents respond? writing a letter to a newspaper,
attending a community rally,
Young children cannot under-
stand the complex historical, eco- speaking to your child's school
nomic, sociological, and religious administration or his class.
* To counter the image of the
reasons for hatred of the Jews.
The most important things par- Jew as victim, point out histori-
ents can do, according to Rabbi cal and contemporary examples
Rosman, are to help their chil- of Jewish strength and triumph
dren "feel safe and secure ... and over adversity and oppression.
* Turn to local community re-
to maintain their children's self-
respect and their respect for oth- sources for help: rabbis, Hebrew
and day school teachers, the Jew-
Here are some guidelines for ish Community Council, Jewish
helping a child deal with an anti- Family Service, and the Resource
Center at the Agency for Jewish
* Don't over-react or react for Education, where staff can help
you select age-appropriate books
* Ask questions to clarify what and tapes.
The hamantashen we eat on
* Find out how your child feels Purim can become a vehicle for
about what took place, and what putting anti-Semitism in per-
he thinks about why it happened. spective for children. These pas-
* Reassure your child. Make tries are filled with meaning as
well as with prunes or poppy
her feel protected.
* Affirm your child's self- seeds. In a hamantash, the evil
Haman (and all his subsequent
* Keep communication open. embodiments) co-exist with the
Your child may need to work playfulness of Purim and the joy
through the experience by dis- of our people's survival.
Young children think con-
cussing it again.
* Emphasize the positives. cretely. Through their senses,
Painful situations in life can help they can grasp the significance
us grow. Ask, "Would you do of the many other Jewish sym-
something differently next time?" bols that contain contradictory
* Many anti-Semitic remarks elements, reflecting the com-
and acts are based on myths, plexity of life. The gaiety of
stereotypes, and lack of accurate Purim is preceded by the sobri-
information or understanding. Is ety of the Fast of Esther. The
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there an opportunity Graffiti s prayed charoset eaten at the
here for educating a on the in tenor of Passover seder reminds
us of the harshness of
a temp le by
teacher or a playmate?
slavery, yet the sweetness
* Instead of labeling
"bad [or good] people,"
We break a glass at the
talk about "people who
end of a wedding to show that
do or say bad [or good] things."
* As early as pre-school, begin happiness is not unadulterated.
talking with your child about dif- Sadness and joy are intermin-
ferences among people. Discuss gled. But, as the hamantash and
and model the need to respect the charoset taste good, so Ju-
and learn about those who are daism should be appealing to
different from us.
Our goals are to build self-es-
* Set an example of taking ac-
tion to combat anti-Semitism by teem and Jewish identity 0
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