Things We Learned In Kindergarten and How to Cope and Have Our Children and Grandchildren Cope With Current Events From Michael Balaban, President & CEO Jewish Federation of Broward County

education-kindergartenThis email was sent to many of us in South Florida Friday, August 18, 2017, from Michael Balaban, President & CEO Jewish Federation of Broward County. No further words can or need be spoken.  It should be shared.


With Little Joy,



“This should be an exciting time filled with preparing our children to return to school and yet I can’t help but think how terrible a week it’s been.  We are feeling outraged and deeply wounded.  As this is being written we are hearing of yet another act of hate – this time unfolding in front of the kosher market in Barcelona with 13 reported killed and 100 injured.  Our hearts go out to the families of all the victims of this week’s atrocities, including Heather Heyer, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (of Charlottesville, VA) and all those injured during the vile acts of violence in Charlottesville and in Barcelona.  The Boston Jewish Community is in our thoughts as they repair, for the second time, the destruction of the shattered glass walls of their Holocaust Memorial.”

“We have experienced events that bring to mind scenes from Germany in the late 1930’s.  It is eerily familiar.  As many of us prepare our children to return to school, we are forced to have painful conversations with them about what the events of this week mean, and how they directly affect them.  Anti-Semitism never goes away, sometimes it just lies more dormant under the surface.  This is not the case right now.”

“As our children head back to school, what are the imperatives that they need to learn?  Recalling the poem by Robert Fulghum – All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten:

“Most of what I really need to know about how to live

And what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.




Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.


Live a balanced life –


Learn some and think some


And draw and paint and sing and dance


And play and work every day some.


Take a nap every afternoon.


When you go out into the world,


Watch out for traffic,


Hold hands and stick together.


Be aware of wonder.”


“Have we forgotten these simple lessons or perhaps we never took them as important or imperatives?  Maybe it’s time, as the recent events in Charlottesville show, to realize that this isn’t enough.  We must, as parents take action to guide our children to not just enjoy the benefits of our country but to actively engage in protecting the qualities of life, liberty, and justice. We must teach that there is no moral equivalence between those who promote hatred and those that defend against it. Let’s be clear- we should never look for goodness on the side of the KKK, the alt-right or Neo-Nazis.  It simply doesn’t exist.  We cannot stand for this kind of vile hatred.  It cannot and will not be tolerated. We must speak and act against it at every opportunity.”


“As we welcome this Shabbat, may it usher in unity and peace.  May we all find the strength to not only teach our children, but show them the way.”


Shabbat Shalom,

Michael Balaban

President & CEO

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