Jan 29, 2014
A Jewish Response to 'Knockout'

The Jewish Children's Museum hosted a townhall-style meeting with local non Jewish pupils in an effort to educate and promote understanding.

By COLlive reporter

100 children from local public schools gathered at the Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights Tuesday for a day of fun and learning, along with a Kosher pizza lunch.

The children from Middle Schools 61, 584 and 587 enjoyed a tour of the museum, a game show and crafts, followed by a 'Town Hall' style meeting with the museum's director of foundations and government services Mrs. Devorah Halberstam and the museum's director of programming, Rabbi Nissen Brenenson.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish Children's Museum, with lunch sponsored by the CHJCC, as a follow up to a call for action at a recent community meeting after a number of "knock out" attacks occurred in Crown Heights.

The event was coordinated by the NYPD 71st and 77th Precincts community affairs detectives Vinny Martinos and Tanya Salters. Both inspectors George Fitzgibbon and Eddie Lott were in attendance at the event.

Halberstam related to the children how her son Ari Halberstam was murdered because he was a Jew, and that he was hated simply because he could be identified as Jewish.

The children also had a chance to ask questions about Jewish culture and heritage.

The response from the children was "amazing," relates Halberstam, and said that they began to open up and ask many questions. She said she was surprised at how unfamiliar the children were with many aspects of Jewish culture, even though they live side by side with many Jewish neighbors.

"The children asked questions like 'What are those fringes on Jewish clothing?' and 'Are all Jewish people Rabbis?' They also couldn't believe a Jewish museum could be this much fun," Halberstam said.

Halberstam was moved by their response to hearing about Ari's murder. "Many of them came over to me to express their condolences, saying they were so sorry about my loss. They showed compassion and good will, and this is indicative of what kind of homes they are raised in," she said.

Halberstam says this pilot program introducing non-Jewish children to Jewish culture in a fun and positive setting is critical for maintaining good relations between the Crown Heights communities.

"These children are the next generation's leaders. This is the best way to build relationships of understanding and kindness," she said.

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Opinions and Comments
Mrs. Halberstam is truly the perfect shlucha for this. May you go from strength to strength!
(1/29/2014 9:44:23 PM)
Smart smart smart
Wow, finally someone thinking with sechel how to tackle some issues. EDUCATE. Whoever thought of this is genius. I'm amazed. I'm not surprised at this wonderful turnout and I think it should happen more often. So many things happen in life because of miscommunication. I'm sure most of these kids will speak to their friends and family about what they saw and heard and these kids would definitely stop a friend of theirs who would want to start a fight with a CH kid the next time they're walking down the streets. Wow, I'm amazed and happy to see that someone thought out of the box. Kol Hakovod
(1/29/2014 10:38:52 PM)
What a super thoughtful way to cultivate tikkun and be ohr l'goyim, bH!

...Y'never know which of these youths might someday SOON be helping us rebuild the Beis HaMikdosh :)

Thank you for such a huge dugma to help bring Moshiach closer!
(1/29/2014 10:44:02 PM)
a humble thought
A special thanks to who ever thought of this and made it happen. Because the Rebbe spoke about combating crime with proper education, which is lacking in the public schools and this is a very practical way of us doing it being that we can't do much about in-school education.
(1/29/2014 10:56:46 PM)
(1/29/2014 11:17:14 PM)
Beautiful project
So glad to hear all these groups are working together for this kind of education. Yes, these young people are the future and many are good, sensitive kids. continued hatzlacha to all involved!
(1/29/2014 11:34:57 PM)
mm levitansky,doing what he does best!
(1/29/2014 11:45:15 PM)
mm levitansky is warm, kind, intelligent,witty and knows the right thing to say! perfect man for the job!!!!!
(1/30/2014 12:20:57 AM)
So glad this is happening. These are our neighbors, good smart people like us. We should be getting along much better.

Now it's time to take our kids to visit museums celebrating and explaining African American and Carribean history and heritage.

Hopefully, with education, our children can learn to view each other as individuals and not races.

Great first step.
(1/30/2014 12:38:16 AM)
And Devorah hits home again!
(1/30/2014 1:26:06 AM)
Brilliant idea!
Kol halavod to those who organized this event. Hopefully with many more such events the face of the community will change to a more peaceful one.
(1/30/2014 2:23:16 AM)
Kiddush Hashem
This is the biggest Kiddush Hashem I've ever saw
nice job!!!!
keep it up!
(1/30/2014 3:46:15 AM)
torah contains everything we need to know
to no. 9
We have to be a light to the nations! (not the other way around)
(1/30/2014 6:47:50 AM)
Very impressed!
What did the teens think of the fantastic Holocaust exhibits?
(1/30/2014 7:35:20 AM)
But wait...
can i bring my students for such a trip?! who arranged that?
(1/30/2014 8:57:23 AM)
take all public school classes
This needs to be opened up to all the children of our local public schools beyond this pilot group of 100. Education and exposure dispels myths and ignorance. FYI, this is what the Rebbe wanted.
(1/30/2014 9:16:32 AM)
I think you miss point. And what does your response has to do with understanding people who are different from you.
(1/30/2014 9:48:03 AM)
Education is Key
Thank you so much for doing something positive about the knock-out game.
(1/30/2014 10:00:30 AM)
a positive approach is way more powerful
Positivity works, people who learn via positivity are way more receptive, not on the defensive, so yasher koach to Mrs. Halberstam and all those involved, looks like a beautiful event, may it bear many positive fruit.
(1/30/2014 10:20:50 AM)
Yerachmiel, Sholom Ber, and Gershon,
Yasher Koach for bringing our Rebbe's Message to the World, you are always thinking ahead of the times, and you Give The Rebbe a lot of Nachas at the same time you make an amazing Kiddush Hashem.

Your Fans in Riverdale NY
(1/30/2014 10:25:31 AM)
Instead of fighting we need to show them the beautiful way of Yiddishkeit. We need to educate and try to make peace between ourselves.
(1/30/2014 12:00:55 PM)
best game show host ever!
(1/30/2014 12:35:15 PM)
Boruch Nissim Hoffinger 'Here is THE ANSWER!'
Thank you Mrs. Devorah Halberstam and Rabbi Nissen Brenenson.
Wonderful! Great!
Having been involved in similar undertakings for 3 years, I've spoken to (About) 5--800 non-Jews, mostly in Crown Heights. Once I spoke to groups of Afro-American children in Lincoln Terrace Park (So-called 'Rochester Pk') and handed out my promotional sheet. Yes, I've also spoken in every place you can imagine.
Rabbi Nissin Mangel just gave me a big 'brocho' and Shmarya Balberg (Our 'liason' to The 71st Pct.) handed me $40 to print my 'promotional sheets.'
But there is a BIG difference in what I do. I teach them about the 'Wisdom of the Aleph-Beit!' They love it! One man started to jump up and down! "This is amazing," he said. "You made this up!" another said in disbelief. One Sunday, an Afro-American was in my house and after a few minutes of instruction raised his fist and shouted: "They should be teaching this in every school!" I heartily agreed.
In 5 minutes you can impart profound wisdom.
What I do empowers them and shows them that they have an AMAZING language and wisdom that is THEIR HERITAGE! This is the language of the future...doing this gives them a greater understanding and feeling that they 'Were made in the image of G-d,' (These were the words of an Afro-American teenager).
'Loshon HaKodesh' is the language of the 'Messianic Times.' I speak for about 3 minutes to 30 minutes.
Non-Jews come over to me on Utica Avenue and say hello, mentioning our previous encounter.
G-d willing my class will be re-started here in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (Mr. Don Goodman was the 'Torah Activist.').
With YOUR help this can be sped up.
I can email you a 'promotional sheet.'
(1/30/2014 1:27:26 PM)
Looks great
Mrs Halbershtam,

I have not met you, but whenever you are in pictures, you look marvelous kana hora, so pretty and beautiful.

You will surely bring in the goodness from the outside world.

(1/30/2014 2:44:37 PM)
moment of silence
all it's missing is a moment of silence, other wise very good
(1/30/2014 5:52:19 PM)
"It's one community!"
The Rebbe expressed this to former Mayor Dinkins during dollars... moral education is imperative. Kol hakavod.
(1/30/2014 6:42:37 PM)
From utter darkness
Comes blinding light.
Keep up your great work and spirit Devorie!
(1/30/2014 8:54:19 PM)
Boruch ben Tzvi 'HaKohaine ' Hoffinger BS"D
Today I spoke to David, an 'Afro-American' in the city library located at Eastern Pkwy. & Schenectady Ave for 45 minutes. He loved the talk and asked questions while receiving my promotional sheet. I then spoke to 3 more non-Jews and handed out these sheets. Great responses. G-d willing my '7 Noahide Laws' class will restart to everyone's benefit.
Unfortunately it's difficult to get 'The Aleph-Beit wisdom taught in public schools. There seems to be anti-intellectual resistance. Perhaps soon America will wake up and step out of it's Neanderthal culture.
(1/30/2014 9:25:33 PM)
What a Kidush Hashem. Keep up the great work!
(1/31/2014 10:18:25 AM)
WAY TO GO.........
Fantastic ! Smart, Thoughtful....
Way to Go..
Please keep it up... more positive inter-community connections are what will bring change...
Yasher Koach
(1/31/2014 11:30:23 AM)
good job!!!!
keep up the good work!!!!
(2/1/2014 9:00:54 PM)
Boruch ben Tzvi (A"H) 'HaKohaine ' Hoffinger BS"D
Dear Mrs. Devorah Halberstam,
Yes, friendship and kindness are excellent...teaching non-Jews about their profound heritage and empowering them is better.
After leaving 'Frankel's Shul' tonite, 'Motzei Shabbos' (2/1/14) I spoke to an Afro-American teenager for 15 minutes. Off course I included 'The Aleph-Beit Chochmas' using my 'promotional material.' He was fascinated.
See my previous comments.
(2/1/2014 9:09:28 PM)
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