“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” – Elie Wiesel
As Jews, we are all too familiar with the experience of bigotry. Our tradition demands that we live out the value of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world” – and that means it’s our responsibility to speak out against hate. But when hate seems to be all around us, how do we find ways to talk with our children and teens about confronting it? This question — and many others — were the topic of a November 10 virtual panel discussion presented by Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council and co-sponsored by the Jewish Teen Learning Connection (JTConnect). Four parents and educators from a variety of backgrounds shared their best practices during “How to Talk to Kids and Teens about Hate,” and over 60 community members tuned in and brought their own questions.
Program panelists included Nyaunu Stevens, National Conference for Community and Justice’s Director of Programs; Jocelyn Carmen Tamborello-Noble, World Language Supervisor for West Hartford Public Schools; and Eric Maurer, Executive Director of JTConnect. Rebecca Lewis, a diversity training specialist and eighth-grade history teacher at West Hartford’s King Phillip Middle School, moderated the discussion.
“It is so important to talk to our kids about hate — and to call out the wrong when we see and hear injustice,” said Lewis, who works closely with the WHPS Office of Equity. “It’s crucial to create a brave space at home to help begin the conversation and provide kids with the tools to hold these conversations in other spaces.”