Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Teaching Children to Care for Animals

Hillel, the great sage, taught, "All that is hateful unto you, do not do unto others" (Gemara Shabbat 31a). This teaching certainly applies to people, but Torah teaches the importance of showing kindness to animals too. 

Torah teaches another important concept and that is that everything that happens, happens for a reason. So it is that when we began to observe many situations in which children (and sometimes adults) are displaying disrespectful or unkind behaviour to animals in the area, we put our minds to what we could do about it.

Involved in Torah outreach, Chessed Ve'Emet thought of whether we could begin some workshop or other forum to educate the children as to the Torah's teaching that causing harm to an animal or to nature is forbidden. We began by posing a question in a few social networking groups in order to feel out the response of others.

While some parents got upset, saying one cannot try to educate children that are not your own, a fellow occupational therapist had another insight. Children mostly interact in nature according to what they are taught or what they observe. If there is cruelty to animals taking place then this is a sign of an underlying problem. 

Can children mistakenly chase or scare an animal? Yes! There is a powerful story about a certain rabbi who punished his child for scaring chickens. He very strongly insisted that causing harm or pain to animals is forbidden and he did not wish to see such behaviour from his child.

On the lookout for the appropriate intervention, a friend began to take interest in some photographs we had taken of nature. Through some discussion we decided to write a book or perhaps a series of books that will show children how special nature and animals are. We have already completed our first book and are awaiting the proof copy to arrive. 

We are receiving favorable comments from the Beta Readers who have reviewed the manuscript so far. We have decided to alter the cover design which is why the cover is not shown in this post. 

In the meantime, we are busily preparing for appropriate promotion. We would like this book and the books that follow to reach as many children as possible so that they too, can learn the importance of showing kindness to others and to animals in particular.

We invite you to take part in this important project. We offer you the following ways that you can take part:
  1. You can make a contribution to assist with costs of promoting the books. Contributors can be listed in a list of sponsors in the book. The quantity of space to be given to a sponsor will depend on the size of the donation. 
  2. If you are interested in a book of this nature for your child or school, please send us your email address and we will let you know as soon as the book is available for purchase.
  3. If you work in a library, school library or bookstore in Israel, preferably in or near Jerusalem, please be in touch to schedule a book reading or book signing.
  4. If you have a blog that is related to pets, kindness to animals or educating children and are prepared to host a guest post about our book, with a link as to where to purchase it, please be in touch. We are seeking appropriate blogs to set up a virtual book tour.
  5. We are considering doing a more structured crowd fundraiser for this. If you are prepared to share the link or willing to receive an email with information of our campaign, please let us know.
We look forward to updating you on the latest developments of this and further books to be published by Chessed Ve'Emet

This post is prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet

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