What makes one a hero?
By Laura Seymour

A very important word (and idea) in Hebrew is giborim which means heroes.
Today more than ever, our children need heroes in their lives, and we have an abundance of great ones throughout our Jewish tradition.
While trying to make sense of the craziness in the world, stop to think of the heroes who have stepped forward to do the right thing. Think about the giborim in your lives — who were the role models and mentors who changed your life?
For most of us, our first heroes were our parents and family, then we expanded our world as we grew to include biblical heroes and historical ones.
As we close our celebration of Passover, we remember the heroes of the Exodus from Moses to Puah. One goal as parents is to help our children find heroes in Jewish tradition, as well as to be the Jewish heroes in their lives.
Talk with your children about giborim — share who your Jewish heroes are today and why. Here are some great questions for your Shabbat dinner time:

  • Do heroes need to be perfect? Why or why not?
  • What do we look for in role models? Can we have many mentors?
  • How can we be a role model? For who? What do you need to know to be a role model?
  • Why is it important to know about Jewish heroes?
  • Does a person have to be Jewish or do something for Jewish people to be a Jewish hero?
  • Are Jewish heroes just models for us in our Jewish part of our lives?

Keep in mind those throughout the world who are waiting and hoping for a hero to step up and find a way to take heroic steps each day. With the courage and strength to step forward, sometimes we will become unlikely heroes.
Laura Seymour, is director of Youth and Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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