“Give me your lunch or I’ll punch you in the face!” Is something my 12 year old online bar mitzvah student used to hear at school everyday from a bully. He was threatened and beaten if he didn’t give the bully his lunch. At first, my student was terrified of a beating so he gave the bully his food. Then, he was so hungry that on one day he refused and was punched. Too scared to tell anyone he kept this bullying a secret even covering up the bruise using his mothers make up. He knew he had to do something – so he quickly convinced his mother to sign him up for a special brand of martial arts. Needless to say, after a few more stolen lunches, the lessons “kicked in” and the bully stopped harassing my student for his food.
When my student and I spoke about his Jewish education and online bar mitzvah studies, I explained that a bar mitzvah is so much more than learning to confidently sing his Torah portion as part of a Jewish ceremony. It’s also about helping improve the world – social action. My online bar mitzvah student said that at his last Hebrew School and his current day school, bullying was a real problem and that for his bar mitzvah, he would like to donate a portion of his gift money towards an anti bullying cause. My student found
Don’t Be A Monster which is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that works alongside Haunted Attractions in the United States. They are the largest nonprofit organization in the Haunted Attraction community. They offer free, unique, and entertaining bullying prevention assemblies for students in 4th-10th grade.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Their assemblies are delivered in the “Halloween Season” (late September through early November). Each assembly is presented by theie DBAM team from a partnering haunted attraction to your area. With them is their mascot Frank, who teaches kids to celebrate their differences.
Don’t Be A Monster’s program is highly effective: 98.14% of schools surveyed post-presentation find their material beneficial and memorable for their students. Outside of their presentation season, Don’t Be A Monster spends time researching bullying prevention, hosting local events, and attending Halloween trade shows to fundraise for their program.
My online bar mitzvah student decided that not only would he donate a portion of his bar mitzvah gift money to this cause, he would encourage the guests at his bar mitzvah to do the same.