by | Jul 28, 2020 | With Your Family in Mind

In the Jewish calendar, we just commemorated the destruction of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem. We’re taught that both Temples were destroyed because people stopped caring for one another. When we no longer relate to one another or feel each other’s pain, we don’t respect their human dignity. We generally tend to put labels on people and place them in a specific group according to their race, religion, or nationality. It is hard for us to let go of our old patterns of thinking and behaviors. We often hold a “them against us” mentality when others don’t think and act like us. That happens when we don’t embrace individuality and uniqueness in our diversified world as we should.
I might sound like an idealist, but I’m not. I accept that we live in an imperfect world that needs fixing. In Hebrew it’s called Tikun Olam- repairing the world. I wish that we’d all understand that we’re much more than labels. What is the cure for such discord in the disrespect? Doing the opposite. It’s moving our egos and fear aside for the sake of caring, respecting, and loving one another. Francois Fenelon said, “I love my country better than I love my family; but I love humanity better than my country.”
In order to move forward, we must recognize that we have the power to change. We must know that we’re all good enough to live freely in this world as equals. We must unite. Only then, can we connect to each other on the deepest level of being. Respect and love will come back to us like a boomerang. Kindness and love can be expressed on three levels: our conscious thought, how we express ourselves with words, and actions. Togetherness can be shown in small, simple ways such as greeting others with a smile, saying a kind word, or helping someone else when needed.
We learn from the Jewish Talmud that the reward of a Mitzvah (doing a good deed) is the mitzvah itself; the good feeling we get from doing it. When we value the lives of others, we realize that we are all connected. Our unity and shared humanity lead us all to a better world with no divisions. We are all equal and acceptable in God’s eyes. We can begin by practicing acceptance and mutual respect in our own circles starting today. It’s the ripple effect. Those circles will only grow.
Naomi Young is an educator of Jewish studies and a Bar/ Bat mitzvah tutor in Santa Clarita for 37 years. She’s also a published writer and an artist. Contact her at Visit her art website at

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