Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

When to intervene – Atid Learning Center Weekly Update 1/5/18

Dear Families,

Welcome back.  It was great to see our 3rd-6th graders on Wednesday and I look forward to seeing the rest of you on Sunday!


NO SCHOOL NEXT SUNDAY– MLK Weekend (Do join us Monday, January 15 to help pack bags for foster children, beforehand, take your kids shopping for requested donations! More Info)
Torah Talk:
http://jewishjourneyproject.weebly.com/parshat-shmot.html (includes a video about the parsha!)

This week we begin the second book of the Torah called Exodus or Sh’mot in Hebrew.  The first portion from this book is also called Parshat Sh’mot. This story is well known because it forms the basis of the Passover seder when we retell the story of our exodus from slavery after 400 years of servitude.  Listen to this short video with your child.  The narrator has cerebral palsy and a speech impediment, not unlike Moses who becomes the Israelites’ leader.

One of the scenarios in this week’s Torah portion Moses grows up and begins to feel compassion for his people who are suffering in slavery. One day he sees two Hebrews fighting and confronts the one who started the conflict. He simply says to him, “Why do you strike your fellow?” Moses’ action tells us that simply asking the right question at the right moment can serve as a powerful way to protect someone from being hurt.  In the Ethics of Our Fathers, Hillel teaches, “In a place where there is no one taking responsibility, do it.” This is usually taken to mean that when other people are acting in an indifferent or cowardly fashion, one should stand up and be a mature, courageous human being. But it could also mean that one should act as a mensch — a decent person — when there are no others around, in a place where there literally are no others. 

What can we learn from this?

Sometimes we see things, whether at work or at school, and we know they are wrong. But the question for us is to decide when to intervene. We all make decisions regarding when it’s “just not our business” and when it would be wrong not to say something. But knowing which is which can be difficult. If we see someone being demeaned, it’s important to step in and help out. Whether we act discreetly or out in the open is a decision we will have to make in each situation.

Family Discussion

Talk with your family members about the difference between minding your own business and knowing when to intervene. It’s not always an easy distinction to make. Here are some guiding questions:

• Have you ever seen a situation where you felt as if you should have gotten involved and didn’t?
• What happened? What do you think you could have done?
• When are times not to get involved and when are times to get involved?
• If a situation seems unsafe for you to intervene, what else might you do?

Upcoming Events:
  • Saturday, January 6 – Junior Congregation (Grades 3-6) 10:30 am
  • Saturday, January 6 – Kehillat Kids (Grades K-2) 11:00 am
  • Sunday, January 14– No School MLK Weekend
  • Sunday, January 21– Bonim/ Machar (Grades K-5) Lego Mania Party 11:30-2pm
Shabbat shalom,
Luisa Moss
Director of Education and Youth Programming