It takes a Village to raise a child – the Dangers of Poor Accessory choices

It takes a Village to raise a child – the Dangers of Poor Accessory choices

The funny thing is that I never took my late grandmother seriously when she told us that the right accessory could make or break an outfit. If she were alive today to see the furor over a poorly chosen scarf, she would have given us the biggest “I told you so” look of all time. Of course she would have also given the 17 year old child a sharp smack to the back of his head and sent him to his room to think about what he has done, but that’s another issue completely.

I would rather focus on accessories – because they are clearly a lot more relevant than I for one had realized. In fact I will bet that every Grade 11 student at Jewish Day Schools across South Africa, is rummaging through his cupboards as we speak, it being clear that not to eliminate certain items, could cause, at best, future leadership opportunity to be jeopardized, and at worst public demonization.

But this is where I need clarity – what makes one scarf badly designed and garish, offensive only for its ugliness, and another offensive for its message and all it conveys?  We all know what makes a Mezuzah kosher (some of our re-sellers also now have this knowledge), but I really think we need to understand the Palestinian fashion world better.

So I Googled “Palestinian accessories” and was blown away (if you will excuse the expression) by the choices available. Would you believe that there is a full range of options in scarf-wear (some of which may be purchased at Urban Outfitters in the USA for USD20 per item) and some very pleasant full length dresses in this design if one likes that sort of thing? I personally don’t love how they have combined the red and green and written “Palestine” all over them, but for the SA debating team this appears not to have been a concern.

What is clear to me, given this whole unfortunate mess, is that we have sent a clear message to the anti-us people. We have given them the blueprint as to how to cause us the most pain. It is not to attack and vilify us, it is not to boycott and disseminate untruths and it is not turn the UN and the world against us. It is simply to turn one of our own against his people. We seem to be able to deal with anything at all, but not with other Jews selling us short.  When we have a magnificent gathering of 12,000 Israel supporters representing all races, the local news leads with the focus on 12 sad and rejected “Jews” standing outside protesting her actions.

And it hurts. It hurts us when Josh Someone, a child, rejects us his family. It hurts us as if he were our own. We get angry and we demand better, as we would from any of our own children. He clearly has great potential and we want to be proud of him, we want to share in his success. We do not want to feel ashamed and saddened by his actions as we do now.

And I feel for him and his family. Because with all the bluster and the defense and the so-called support, and however it is debated and explained, I would certainly not want to be remembered for this act. No one wants to be Goldstone and all he has come to represent. But we need to remember that he is a child, and children do stupid things (as do we all). He needs to deal with the consequences, as the school sees fit, he needs to be sent to his room to consider the pain he has caused, and then when he comes out, we need to give him a hug and be told that we still love him.

Let’s cut him some slack, lets not remember his name and let’s give him another chance. We need to not push him and his family into a corner that forces them to defend this poor choice and let’s hope that next time he goes out, he will think carefully as to how he accessorises. Let’s help him make my grandmother proud.


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