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What Keeps Me Up at Night

Here’s what I worry about, what sometimes keeps me up at
night: that some person, out of his own insecurities or just plain meanness,
finds a way to weasel under the skin of one of my kids, plays on her
insecurities, and inflicts a wound that could prove fatal.

Here’s what keeps me up at night: that this wound, infects
my kid deeply, metastasizes and, because it is all happening under the skin, I
don’t even know it is happening.
Sometimes I shake myself out of that nightmare, convincing
myself that there is no way my outwardly confident, content, happy kids could
fall into such a trap – especially without my knowing it – until I think about
the three kids who died recently by their own hands,  Tyler Clemente (the college student, outed by a roommate, who took his own
life), and the countless other stories of bullying and cyberbullying that seem
to multiply across our television screens. 
Our Mishpacha Family Alternative Learning program
Coordinators Lisa Berney and Sarah Lauing are teaching families the story of a
2nd century rabbi who taught that one who publicly shames a neighbor
is as though that person has shed blood
(Talmud Baba Metziah). On one hand an
example of rabbinic hyperbole, this teaching names the reality we are
experiencing in our world today – that embarrassing another and shaming them is
so heinous that it is like – and can lead to – a mortal wound inflicted upon another.
That’s why it is important, again and again, to tell our
children how much we love them. It is why we rabbis and cantors and educatorstell “our children” (students) face to face and by email how much they mean to us.  It is
why I tell each Bar and Bat Mitzvah student in front of the ark that they are
beautiful and valuable. 
Program Promo:  And it is why, on this Wednesday, December 7th at 7:00 pm, the
Or Ami Center for Jewish Parenting is hosting the interactive workshop Understanding
and Addressing Cyberbullying:
What Families Don’t Know Will Hurt Them. Led by Anti-Defamation League experts, the program geared for teens
(grades 7 and older) and adults will address:
What can we, as adults, do about cyberbullying? What tools can our
children use to respond to a bullying experience – whether it is them or
another person being victimized? What can we do as a community to address this
growing problem?
Those will younger children will significantly benefit
from attending the workshop as bullying and cyberbullying knows no bounds.  RSVP by email to Susie Stark, or call 818.880.4880. Childcare is
available at no charge, reserve space when you RSVP.

Bullying and cyberbullying are cancers that need to be constantly diagnosed, treated and eradicated.  Our youth movement NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) has an Anti-Bullying website filled with great links, articles, strategies and suggestions.  Check them out.

Our children are too precious.  Let us help them live in peace so we can sleep peacefully.  

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