Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dealing with traumatic news reports - Terrorism in Mumbai

North American educators were likely on vacation this past Thursday and Friday as scenes of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were appearing in the media. The terrorists, who took aim at innocent victims in a place that we do not immediately associate with a significant Jewish community, deliberately chose a Jewish site as one of their points of attack. Having seen these pictures and read about the murder of hundreds of people - among them Jews in the Chabad House - many of our students will return to school this week with questions about identifying themselves as Jews and their own safety and security.

For better or for worse, circumstances in Israel have created an environment where educators have learned to be prepared to help children cope with traumatic events. Following the 9/11 terror attacks, in cooperation with Dr. Mooli Lahad, director of the Community Stress Prevention Centre at Tel Hai College, the Lookstein Center developed a mini-site called "Islands of Resiliency" that offers articles, educational materials and links to organizations that offer suggestions on how to deal with traumatic events. This resource may be helpful to you in preparing for class. You can access it at http://www.lookstein.org/islands/index.htm

This is also an opportunity to discuss with students the history of the Jewish community in India, a country unique among nations, with a Jewish community dating back centuries (according to the traditions of some local communities, as far back as the first Temple period) with little, if any, history of anti-Semitism. See
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/indians.html
http://www.jcpa.org/dje/articles2/india.htm
http://www.haruth.com/AsianIndia.html

Shalom

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