December Value: Ometz Lev (Courage of the Heart)

Our Religious School’s Jewish value for December is Ometz Lev, “courage of the heart.” A strong, brave heart helps us to conquer our fears or to stand up for our personal beliefs. Ometz Lev is central to retelling the story of Chanukah. It was Ometz Lev that empowered Mattathias to refuse to bow down to a foreign idol, and it was Ometz Lev that inspired the Maccabees to battle the Assyrian Greeks. Just as these ancient folk overcame their fears, our children can be empowered to do so.

We can encourage our children to develop Ometz Lev and build strength of character. Here are some character traits that contribute to courageous behavior:

* Candor, the courage to speak and hear the truth
* Purpose, the courage to pursue lofty and audacious goals
* Will, the courage to inspire hope, spirit and promise, by persevering in the face of frustration
* Rigor, the courage to find better protocols and make them stick, with the serenity to accept the rules that cannot change, the strength and creativity to change the rules that are getting in the way, and the wisdom to know the difference
* Risk, the courage to empower, trust and invest in relationships

Encourage your children to demonstrate these traits. Recognize and praise them when they work hard on an assignment (rigor) or try something new (risk). Talk with them about individuals who have displayed courage, both in ancient times (e.g., Queen Esther) and modern day (e.g., Rosa Parks). Working together we can create courageous children who will have the skills they need to make our world a better place.

Laura Naide,

Director of Religious Education

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