Avoiding the next Purim

Enough hatred…Educating to respect difference is the first step

Today we celebrate Purim – another Jewish holiday where someone tried to kill us and we had faith and took measures and survived. It is however another story of where an extremist element in society was allowed by the ruling elite and the silent majority to step into power and almost in this case execute their plan.

In history, Hitler, Haman (the story of Purim) and countless others who preach hatred, as well as in the modern day ISIS, Hamas…, are allowed to gain the upper hand and promote views that at their heart put hatred of others at the top of their agenda.

It has happened time after time, not just to Jewish populations but to victims of hatred by the hands of those who don’t respect different cultures, genders, faiths and beliefs of others.

As Martin Luther King said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

The solution must start with something very basic – the way we raise our children.

As Rabbi Sacks so eloquently put it: “As To defend a land, you need an army. But to defend freedom, you need education. You need families and schools to ensure that your ideals are passed on to the next generation and never lost, or despaired of, or obscured. The citadels of liberty are houses of study. Its heroes are teachers, its passion is education and the life of the mind. Moses realised that a people achieves immortality not by building temples or mausoleums, but by engraving their values on the hearts of their children, and they on theirs, and so on until the end of time.” Radical Then, Radical Now, pp. 32-33

Whilst days like Purim are important to show we are able to pull through the worst of times and, as today, we can’t be sheep to the slaughter and must be strong and resist terror, far more important is preventing the Purim’s or Holocaust’s from happening. We live in dangerous times where despite all our talk of equality, hatred is on the up. It is our job to teach the next generation more mutual respect for others and less hate.

It was rogue ideologies not nations or mainstream religions which caused the Holocaust, Purim or in modern day the 7th October, but these groups were allowed to rise to the surface because the silent majority didn’t prevent them…we must teach our kids to love not hate and be strong enough to stand up for others when they are hated.

On a very personal level, I hope I have successfully educated my kids to reject hatred of people for religion, race, creed, sexual orientation and any other personal individual freedom.

I also hope I have instilled in them a belief of the necessity and strength to defend fully their right and a just society’s right to exist, from those who seek to do them harm because of hatred. It is unfortunate that this is the skill my kids are currently exercising – it is not out of choice. I would personally far rather the 7/10’s and Purim’s of the future are prevented from happening.

About the Author
I live in Yad Binyamin having made Aliyah 17 years ago from London. I have an amazing wife and kids including a son in Special Forces and two daughters, one soon to start uni and one in high school. A partner of a global consulting firm and a Parkinson's patient and advocate.