by Gayle Reingold
Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed about my future. I dreamed about becoming a princess and living in a peaceful world where everyone gets along. While growing up, I have read and seen unfortunate events where innocent people have been killed. Some of the major ones I can recall are: Sandy Hook Elementary shooting (2012), Columbine High School shooting (1999), Virginia Tech shooting (2007), and who could forget the infamous 9/11. Based on this, as a teenager, I have come to the conclusion that we need to work on world peace.
As a Jewish community, we can help end the violence by educating people about our faith and our views on violence. One of the Ten Commandments included in the Torah that is found in Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 is: “Thou shall not kill.” The Torah prohibits the killing of innocents, but it does allow for justified killing as long as it is for warfare, capital punishment, or self-defense. As a community, we can help to end the violence by starting in our Hebrew Schools and really emphasizing the Ten Commandments, showing the students that God gave us these rules to be followed. We can start by teaching students about the dangers of bullying both inside and outside of Hebrew school. If we want to see a world with less violence, we have to start with the younger generations. The younger generation needs to learn that everyone has an opinion and if you disagree with someone’s opinion, you should solve the disagreement via discussions and not with violence. But how can we teach them this when all the media talks about is innocent people dying every day? We need to take it one step farther.
When I get older, I would like to become a teacher. Becoming a teacher would allow me to be with children every day and teach them how to be kind to others and how they can make a difference in stopping violence. But that’s only half the battle. There are still people out there who kill, not because they were not taught how to be nice but because they are not mentally stable. I also hope that one day I can start a foundation that helps these individuals to understand that violence doesn’t solve differences of opinion.
Not all dreams come true and I have realized that I will not be a princess when I grow up because that only happens in the movies or in fairy tales. But my dream for world peace is not completely impossible and one I’m not ready to give up on. If I can educate just one person and save at least one person from harming another, then I know I have made a difference in the world and my dream of world peace will be coming true. All it takes is one person.