| Jr. Feature |

Proud to Belong  

The Kiddush Hashem Foundation has made it their mission to help bring awareness of the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem to Klal Yisrael

Clang, clang.

The police led a Muslim woman into the court room. She was dressed in black and her entire face was covered with a black cloth.

“You are accused of carrying a gun and stealing from a store!” The judge said sharply. “And we’re here to decide if you are innocent or guilty.”

Sitting in the audience was an entire Jewish Denver day camp. They were fascinated; they’d never seen court proceedings up close before. What a great camp trip!

The lawyers presented their cases and one by one, witnesses were brought in and cross-examined. But each said something else: one said the shoplifter was light-skinned, the other said she was dark-skinned.

There was only one way to find out…

“Take off your veil,” the judge ordered. But the woman shook her head, refusing.

“We need to see your face,” the judge said sternly and ordered a police officer to pull her veil off. The officer stepped toward her, yanked, and — SURPRISE!

It was one of Denver’s Jewish day camp counselors, his face painted blue and green!

“Color war!” he yelled and all the campers gasped in shock and delight.

Believe it or not, the camp had managed to get a REAL judge, REAL lawyers, and REAL police officers to participate in this elaborate color war breakout scheme!

“Order in the court!” The judge called and banged his gavel. The counselors had provided him with a short speech to read about sur mera and aseh tov (the two teams!). “It isn’t enough to just stay away from evil,” the judge read aloud. “A person must also contribute to goodness.”

When the camp counselors thanked the judge for his part in the scheme, the judge thanked them, saying he’d learned a lot from the experience.

But that wasn’t all: A week later, the camp director got a phone call. The caller said, “My son was caught shoplifting and has been sentenced to 16 hours of community service. The judge suggested he work for your religious camp where children are taught and practice high standards of behavior. We hope you’ll have a positive influence on him.”

(Adapted with permission by ArtScroll, from A Life Worth Living, Dazzling the Judge)

I’m sure you’re reading this and marveling, “Wow, what a kiddush Hashem!” I heard this story from Rabbi Shraga Freedman, formerly of Denver, now of Baltimore, who is the educational director of the Kiddush Hashem Foundation. He’s written several books on the subject and with the help of his partners, Shabsey Gartner and Moshe Firestone, has made it their mission to help bring awareness of the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem to Klal Yisrael.

Hi, Rabbi Freedman! How did you first get interested in this topic?

Over 20 years ago, when I was learning in Bais Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, I heard a shmuz from the Mashgiach, Rabbi Matisyahu Solomon. He said in the name of Rabbeinu Yonah that the entire reason Hashem made us into a nation was so that we could make a kiddush Hashem. That’s why we’re here! All the other mitzvos are the tools. I was kind of surprised, I didn’t know that. I started learning more, researching and putting together a curriculum on the topic to teach my students.


I asked Jr’s Inside Scoop members to share some examples of the times they’ve made a kiddush Hashem. Here’s what they had to say:

When my grandparents were flying to Israel, there was a man sitting near them who kept bothering the flight attendants. My Zeida spoke to the man and calmed him down.

— Dovid, 8, Toronto


Once, we were at the airport, and our flight was canceled. We were some of the only people who didn’t start to shout and get angry at the staff.

—Eli Kishenevsky, 13, Yerushalayim


After Succos, my grandparents got a postcard from their non-Jewish neighbors saying how much they enjoyed our beautiful singing!

— Malki, 13, Yerushalayim


Every day I make a kiddush Hashem when I wear tzitzis.

— Tzvi Hirsch Zuckerman, 10, Columbus, OH


Every day after school I make sure to leave my place neat and tidy for the cleaning crew.

— Chani, 9, Yerushalayim


In our school we play in a yard next to the street. Sometimes passersby throw our balls that we mistakenly threw out, back in. We always remember to say “thank you” and “have a great day.” One day, the school received a letter that said: It makes me so happy to hear the boys say thank you. Since I can’t see my grandchildren during quarantine, it cheers me up whenever I pass the yard, throw their balls back over the fence, and they smile and wish me a good day. Thank you!

— Naftali Sentell, 11, St. Louis, MO


We once went on a tram with my mother. We were sitting and behaving well. We saw people looking at us, probably because we’re a lot of kids! When we got off, one lady said to my mother, “I’m really impressed with your children, carry on!”

— Family S., Manchester,  England


When we went on a school outing to Runway Park, we all sat bentshing after lunch. One of the people there was so impressed, he asked Mr. Scheftz what we were saying!

— Yossi David, 9, Manchester, England


When I wear tzniyus clothing, it makes a kiddush Hashem.

— Leah Zuckerman, 8, Columbus, OH


I once saw an old non-Jewish couple walking their dog. I said, “Your dog’s adorable!” Their faces completely lit up.

— Dubba Esther Laub, 14, Monsey, NY


My mother is a speech therapist. She often works with non-frum Jews and non-Jews, giving them high-quality and honest care. Every time my mother does therapy with them, she is grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of Hashem’s Chosen People.

— Chantsha Burton, 12, Brooklyn, NY


I always greet the guard who sits at the entrance to our school building with a friendly good morning and a big smile on my face.

— Esty Kern, 12, Yerushalayim


One time our housekeeper saw us playing nicely together and she told us this is why she likes to work for the Jewish people, because we are so kind to each other.

— Ella Jaffe, 9, and Noam Jaffe, 5, Clifton, NJ


On Purim, my mother gave my crossing guard a mishloach manos with a poem. Weeks later, when my mother was shopping in Costco, a lady came over to her. It was the crossing guard, and she told her how touched she’d been by her note.

— Goldy, 11, New Jersey


Whenever I step off the bus, I thank the driver.

— Eliyahu Mevorach, 11, Yerushalayim


Once, when I was in a store, the lady behind the counter gave me a product, thinking I had paid. I asked if I could pay and she stared at me as if I was crazy! For me, it was the most normal thing, but she started praising me and saying how special I was! It was very embarrassing but it made me realize how lucky we are to be raised this way!

— Chaya Mushka Levine, 13, Nijmegen, Holland


Once my family left Target and realized they’d forgotten to charge us for something so we went back in and paid.

— Atara Berger, 13, Waterbury, CT


My father brought water to the police guards outside the shul. They really appreciated it.

— Perel Fischer, 13, Brooklyn, NY


Our neighbor’s house burned down, so we bought him challah, made just the way he likes it (well done!).

. — Tzirel Zar, 10, Jackson, NJ


Once, my father saw that someone had a crate stuck under her car and he helped her get it out.

—Refoel Kalish, 7, Edison, NJ


At our main supermarket, 7 Mile Market, there is an employee named Lamont. He collects all the shopping carts from around the parking lot and returns them to their place. He also helps people put their bags into the car. He stands outside working all day, in the rain, snow, and heat. He has been there for many years and knows most of the shoppers. He always wishes us a cheery Good Shabbos on Thursday.

A few years ago, Lamont mentioned to someone that he was going through some rough family times and money was short. Someone put out a notice that they were collecting for Lamont. My mother, along with many other people, donated toward this cause.

When the money was handed to Lamont, he was in tears. He was so appreciative to his 7 Mile family for showing that we care, despite our cultural and religious differences.

We recently heard that Lamont left this job after many years since he found something that paid him significantly more. Within a few days, customers told the store manager that they wanted him back. His former supervisor reached out to him, let him know how beloved he is to our community, and offered him a significant pay raise!

— Betzalel Cohen, 11, Baltimore, MD


When we bentsh together in yeshivah, it makes a kiddush Hashem.

— Yechiel Mechel Zar, 8, Jackson, NJ


Twice a week I give my bus driver a hot cocoa and cookies. She really appreciates it!

– Shulamis Leiman, 12, Brooklyn, NY


Rabbi Freedman, is there anything you’d like to add to our knowledge of what a kiddush Hashem is?

The examples your readers sent in are heartwarming and beautiful! Keep it up!

It’s wonderful when people are impressed and inspired by our actions, but we need to do the will of Hashem at all times, whether others will be impressed or not. That means that just doing Hashem’s mitzvos (as some of the responses mentioned) is a kiddush Hashem! Of course, it’s also extremely important to do this with sensitivity and awareness of others and not create a chillul Hashem.


Can you give an example of what you mean?

Once, our eiruv came down in the middle of Shabbos. I went to pick up my daughter from Bnos, and found her standing outside the building. I asked her, “Do you have anything in your pockets?” She checked; turned out she had some tissues. I explained that the eiruv was down and she’d have to throw those tissues on the ground.

My daughter paused. She said, “I’m worried it will cause a chillul Hashem. Look at all those cars driving by; people will see that I’m littering, they won’t know why I’m doing it.”

She was right. She couldn’t carry, but she also had to be sensitive at the same time. It’s all about balance: We need to work on bein adam l’Makom AND work on bein adam l’chavairo. It’s a package deal. We’re here to make a kiddush Hashem, but we also need to be a mensch. My daughter stood still and waited for a few minutes until there were no cars passing by so no-one would see, and then dropped the tissues.


Is it a kiddush Hashem for a Jew to do something that may seem odd in a non-Jew’s eyes, like putting on tefillin in an airport?

If it’s a mitzvah, it’s the ratzon Hashem, so you’re doing a kiddush Hashem, even if other people might think what you’re doing is strange. Obviously, if you’re in a public space, you need to be considerate. Find a quiet corner, out of everyone’s way, and try not to draw attention to yourself.

The Mesillas Yesharim (Perek 20) says that if it’s a halachah, you should do it regardless of what people think, but if it’s a chumra (stringency) or hiddur you can be more lenient. For example, if you need to put on tefillin while on a plane, you can explain politely to the person sitting next to you what you’re about to do … and then just do it. But if you have a chumra to put on a hat when you make a brachah and your hat is in the overhead compartment and the person sitting next to you in the aisle seat is sleeping… it’s better to forgo your chumra than to wake him up.


Is there anything else you’d like Jr. readers to know?

Every organization or business has a mission statement, a clear goal. Klal Yisrael’s overall goal is to make a kiddush Hashem. No matter your age or your location, there are always opportunities! Every single person can make a difference because each person has their own unique way of bringing a kiddush Hashem to the world.

Points to remember, wherever you are:

  • You can make a difference
  • You’re a role model
  • You have a sense of responsibility
  • You are a tzelem Elokim

Here’s a quiz supplied by Rabbi Freedman. See if you can figure out if the scenario is a kiddush Hashem, chillul Hashem, or if it’s just neutral…


A Jewish girl with a very nice voice is heard by women singing. They stop to listen and are impressed by her talent.

A Jewish girl is seen at the zoo wearing a shirt with long sleeves and a long skirt on a very hot day. She overhears comments about how ridiculously she is dressed for the weather.

A Jewish person is a star pitcher on a professional baseball team and is well-liked by hundreds of thousands of fans who are aware that he is Jewish.

The non-religious Jewish star pitcher refuses to play baseball on Yom Kippur.

It is Shabbos and there is no eiruv. An old lady asks a Jewish person to carry something across the street for her, and he replies that he cannot help her.

You are on the phone and tempted to speak lashon hara, but you remind yourself that Hashem is listening, and you overcome your temptation. No one else knows or finds out about this victory.

A religious Jew wins an award reserved for the world’s top scientists.

You were davening with a lot of kavanah. Unbeknownst to you, your friend took notice and also began davening with more kavanah.

A Jew  makes headlines for being the first Jewish astronaut.

The Jewish astronaut recites Kiddush on board the space shuttle.



1) neutral

2) KH

3) Neutral

4) KH

5) KH if the man politely explains why he may not help her

6) KH

7) neutral

8) KH

9) Neutral

10) KH


One more story (used with permission from ArtScroll, from A Life Worth Living)

The bochurim in a certain yeshivah were frightened. A local gang had been harassing them for weeks, shouting threats, calling them names, scrawling hate graffiti on the building. The principal called the police, who prepared to write up a police report of all the disturbing incidents.

“Please tell us all the details,” the policeman said to the boys. “Depending on what the gang members have been saying, their actions might be classified as a hate crime. That’s a much more severe crime than just a conflict between teenagers.”

But as each boy told the police what happened, they couldn’t actually bring themselves to repeat some of the rude words they’d been called… and replaced each one with “beep!”

The policeman threw up his hands with frustration. “How am I supposed to write a police report like this? I can’t tell the judge that those boys called you a beep beep beep Jew!” Then his tone softened and he smiled as he said, “But I’ll tell you the truth: That’s why we like you boys so much. You have such refined speech.”

Thank you, Rabbi Freedman, for clarifying Klal Yisrael’s mission statement and inspiring us to continue to always make a kiddush Hashem… wherever we are. And thank you Inside Scoop members for giving us some ideas how!


To contact Rabbi Freedman, email junior@mishpacha.com


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 890)

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