Sunday, November 11, 2012

TALE OF A FOURTH GRADE SOMETHING: A Story of Cultural Diversity in Israel

Shalom Yeladim:

Have you read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume? It introduces you to one of my favorite characters -- Fudge. Now I have a Tale of a Fourth Grade Something to tell you. It stars a fourth grade girl in Rishon LeZion who recently told the city's mayor not to fudge the facts.

Yup! She taught the mayor and me a great lesson in cultural diversity, because Rishon LeZion is like the rest of Israel. It has Jews from all over the globe living there -- Americans, Ethiopians, British, Yemenites, Australians, Iraqis, Russians, Moroccans, and lots more.

Here's what happened. The Rishon LeZion municipality wanted to tell its residents about the activities in a community center located in the Neve Dekalim neighborhood, so they printed and distributed a booklet. The girl -- whose name I don't know since I guess she doesn't want it in the newspapers -- saw it and got upset because only fair-skinned children were in the photos. So, she sent the mayor a letter. Here's what she wrote:

The booklet for the Neve Dekalim Community Center has at least 25 children.  All the kids in the pictures are fair-skinned and that does not represent all the children in town. I think that dark-skinned kids reading this booklet might feel jealous. A dark-skinned child  might say: "I can't be part of this because I'm dark-skinned." Anyway, it's also obvious that many children in the Neve Dekalim neighborhood are not fair-skinned....I would be happy to see you change that in future booklets.

Wouldn't you know it? The mayor found out that the photos were taken from an image bank. Now he's going to put together a photo archive representing all the city's children. He told the newspapers:

"The girl is right. I am happy she took the initiative and acted on this. She gave us a new perspective. Thanks to her insightful remark we will now make changes. I urge her and others to keep drawing our attention to such issues."

You gotta admit. This is A Tale of a Fourth Grade Something!

Photo Credit 1

Photo Credit 2

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