Insight – The Little Kinderlach

By Rabbi Simcha Scholar

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Every life experience is a learning experience. We believe that nothing is happenstance and every occurrence, wherever it occurs and whoever it occurs to, has a message for us. When nothing is for naught, there is something to be taught. “A wise person is one who learns from everyone.” Dovid Hamelech said, “Mei’oivai techakmeini,” I can even learn from my enemies.

In the past, there were great tzaddikim who viewed the entire universe as a living sefer Torah, and they could discern the word of Hashem from within it. We  may not be worthy of such lucid interpretations, yet at times, it is important to try to take something — a lesson to carry with us as we forge on. 

The recent upheaval of antisemitism on college campuses came as a shock to many. Reminiscent of pre-War Europe, Jewish college students are afraid to attend classes or wear or display symbols of our religion. Who would have thought that in our generation, less than 100 years after the Holocaust, such blatant hatred would rear its head on the shores of America? Protests have gone violent, and the calls for annihilation of the Jewish people “from the river to the sea” have gotten louder and louder.

The recent congressional hearing on campus antisemitism highlighted both the extent of the hatred and the obvious apathy towards reining in the issue. None of the college presidents would condemn calls for genocide against the Jews, nor were they willing to comply with government auditing, basically refusing to  implement any changes. In the land of democracy, with prominent professors from Ivy League colleges brazenly facing the lawmakers, the nation, and the world, there is no way to turn a blind eye to their vileness.

Antisemitism is no longer “them” and “there”; it’s “us” and “here.” The hatred is real, it’s rampant, and it’s at our doorstep.  

Searching for a reason or a source for the uptick,  numerous investigations have unearthed a critical element that cannot be overlooked. Every year, Arab countries throughout the world funnel billions of dollars into these universities. It’s quite obvious, the reports concluded, that this funding offers them clout in decision-making as well as in the prevalent atmosphere on campus. The curriculum, the rhetoric and the vile undercurrent are sourced in the millions flooding in from our adversaries. 

Why are these Arab countries bankrolling American campuses? The answer, I believe, is worthwhile for us to take note of. They are deliberately targeting the young, impressionable students because they recognize that they are the future, the next generation. With some minor “modifications” to the educational curriculum, the world’s opinion, its future leaders and policymakers, will have been indoctrinated to follow the whims and ways of those who funded their warped education.

We may not be able to rival such enormous grants, but there is something we can learn. Our children are our future, the world’s future. They will pass on the torch and carry the flame that we kindle in their souls to light up the world. Every single Yiddishe child holds the key to eternity. What we teach them and how we teach them will reverberate throughout the universe forever.

When Chazal said that saving one person is like saving an entire world, they were not exaggerating. Children are not merely “banayich,” your children; they are “bonayich,” your builders, building the future with the tools we entrust in their hands.  n

Rabbi Simcha Scholar is the chief executive officer for Chai Lifeline.

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