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The Challenge of Raising a Mensch


More than any one single thing, parents want each of their children to grow up to be a mensch. I have asked parents and educators across the spectrum of Jewish observance and belief what they want most for their children, and this is the answer that comes up more often than any other. Interestingly, when I ask the same question to non-Jewish parents, I get the same answer, though they don't use the same word. Parents want their children to grow up to be knowledgeable, responsible, nonviolent and caring. They want their kids to be concerned for others, their families and communities; good team players, yet also possess good leadership skills; decent and ethical; to love justice; to feel compassion for others and to act on those feelings; and be the kind of person one can count on, an all-around complete human being. In other words: a mensch.

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