A Jewish Response to the Tragic Death of George Floyd

12 Jun 2020 | 02:41

    The Jewish people have an answer to the chaos and confusion that has gripped the nation and it is high time that we share our secret with the world.

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Scheneerson obm, publicly pleaded 40, 50, 60 years ago for the public schools to introduce a moment of silence. He insisted that the only way to build a genuinely just society that’s not based on power but one based on morality, truth, ethics and justice where people are able to police themselves, is to bring prayer back to the public schools in the form of a moment of silence.

    Every day should start with a moment of silent meditation. It would be the parent’s obligation to tell the child what to think during those 60 seconds. Jewish parents could tell their children to think of the holiest Jewish prayer: Shma Yisroel. Let the Christian and Muslim parents tell their children to pray to G-d in their way. If you’re a die-hard atheist tell your child to think about being a kind, decent and respectful human being. We must impress on our 60 million children that there’s something far more important than math, science and physics, that there’s something that even precedes their career, the knowledge and awareness of something greater than all of us put together, a Higher Power, a Higher Being, an Eye that Sees and an Ear that Hears. Ultimately the reason we don’t commit a crime is not because we may not get away with it, that we may get caught, but because it’s wrong. Why? Because G-d said so.

    This is our secret. Education, education, education. The Jewish people have always placed a supreme value on education. What is education? What is the primary goal of education? The key purpose of education is to educate a child to become a civilized human being who learns to check his impulses and do the right thing.

    Ultimately why don’t we murder, only because G-d said so. Why don’t we steal, only because G-d said so. Why don’t we harm another human being only because G-d said so.

    What is the solution to this tragic and sorry state of affairs that has left us all reeling in shock and disbelief?

    We must rebuild society from the ground up. First, we must start with the foundation. A moment of silence in the schools is what America desperately needs today starting right now. This is the greatest gift we the Jewish people could give to America in this moment of crisis. America has been so kind to us, we owe it to our fellow Americans to share the secret of our miraculous survival. Introducing a moment of silence to the daily life our kids would guarantee that going forward what happened to George Floyd would never happen again. Our children would grow up with a strong inner sense of right and wrong, with an internal compass, and the Derek Chauvins of the world would also grow up with the strength of character and with the tools to be able to overcome their inner demons.

    Rabbi Ben Tzion Krasnianski is Director of Chabad of the Upper East Side, Manhattan