Talking to our Children About Israel

Written by Erik Martin

Talking To Your

Children About The Unthinkable.

Good evening,

Like many of you, I have been overwhelmed by the heinous events of the past few days in Israel. To say that this is a tragedy would be a gross understatement. My heart breaks for those who are affected by this conflict, the senseless violence that has already claimed far too many lives, and will undoubtedly, and tragically, take more before it ends.

Many of us have family, friends, and loved ones that live in Israel and of course want to do what we can to support them in this crisis. Rabba Kaya sent an email last night with links to various resources and organizations that can provide immediate support to those in harm’s way.

Please see her email for more details.

While I also wish to help in any way I can, as an educator, my first responsibility is to my students and my community. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of resources about talking with our children about this complex issue.

Talking with your children about the conflict in Israel

First and foremost, it’s important to let children know that the adults in their lives are here to support them and talk to them about their feelings. This can be a daunting task but see the links below for tips on how to start a conversation.


Tips for parents of elementary school children

Tips for parents of middle school children

After Terror: 5 Jewish Ways to Help Kids Deal

How to Talk to Kids About What’s Happening in Israel Right Now 
Helping Children Deal with Antisemitism 

While our thoughts are with those in the conflict, we know all too well that violence in Israel is seldom contained there. antisemitic incidents have been on the rise in America over the last several years and the war in Israel is a convenient pretext for bigots to come out of the woodwork. While I sincerely hope that none of our children ever have to experience antisemitism in their lives, it’s important that they, and you, have the tools to combat it.

The University of Southern California Shoah Foundation and Nickelodeon has released a comprehensive guide for parents and caregivers to combat antisemitism in their communities. It contains valuable information about how to start a conversation about this difficult topic with your children as well how to identify and stop anti-Jewish hatred when you see it.

Talk & Take Action: Guides to Countering Anti-Semitism

If you or your family are the victims of antisemitism, it’s important that you take action. Depending on the type and location of the incident, you should immediately notify your local police and/or school district as well as the local ADL Chapter. You can report these incidents to the ADL on their website below.

Report an Antisemitic, Bias or Discriminatory Incident

Prayer for Peace

Let us come together as a people and a community to stand together during this difficult time. Let us be there for our loved ones, near and far, and let us pray for peace in Jerusalem and all Israel.


Erik Martin | Head of School

Temple Israel | Portsmouth, NH
O: 603.436.5301 X 14
C: 860.372.2498

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