Given the state of our country and the world today, there’s a lot riding on this next generation of human beings. As a mom, I need all the tools I can get to encourage my two little boys to someday become adults who will build a better world than the one they were born into, who will tackle enormous challenges like racism, genocide, gender inequality and climate change.
I haven’t found a single magic method for getting my kids to care about social justice, but their dad and I talk to them about poverty, point out injustice in our community, bring them to rallies, teach them to shrink their carbon footprint, and include them when we discuss where to give our tzedakah.
Thankfully, we also have their favorite Jewish holidays to help us out. Hanukkah is a trove of lessons about generosity, civic engagement and activism — from standing up for the underdog to protecting light and freedom in a world threatened to be engulfed by darkness.
Here are eight ideas to nurture your budding Jewish social justice activists, one candle at a time.
Leah Kaplan Robins is Director of Publications and Messaging at AJWS.