Respecting the Help

We're all Jewish ambassadors. So watch what you say and do.

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Comments (16)

(12) SusanE, April 28, 2012 2:04 AM

Generalizing and Birds of a feather.

Lori, People generalize about all groups. We are associated with other people who are like us and we are all judged together. If a few get judged harshly for their actions and if they are still accepted as part of the group, then the group gets judged harshly. That's the way people form opinions. For instance, the Jewish community will be judged by R K's views on how to handle the help. (commenter #2) Is that a favorable or unfavorable image to the Jews? Will they be looked at as fair and just employers to poor Spanish speaking people who are used to washing their clothes in a river. That the helps life is better since they have learned to use a machine and how to properly use cleaning products? Will they be seen as generous employers for donating used clothing to their employees instead of sending it to Goodwill? You tell me. Making sure that the helps children are getting a proper education, would make most people form a favorable opinion of R K. All who post here, including me, are ambassadors to your 260,000 subscribers. - - - - - - - - - Races, Religions, Nationalities, Clubs, Communities all are judged buy the commonly seen reports and actions of it's members. It's not unfair. The world only knows what it sees and hears and from that it forms opinions. - - - - - -- - - Lori, There is something disturbing about teaching children to act in a special way towards servants or others working for them. Teaching children respect for everyone is of course wonderful and we set the example. However, giving children a motive to act extra nice in front of their workers or servants is deceptive. In my opinion.

(11) Mel, April 23, 2012 10:50 PM

Yes, I was waiting for something like that.

Lori, thanks a lot for this video, because i really don't like that many jews think that they are something better than "the non-jews". As if they had chosen themselves in which womb they were placed! Every human being is a valuable soul created in the image of Hashem and the only difference between us is the task that we were given. Jews and Gentiles have different tasks as much as men and women, and both are equal in worth! While I agree that it is important for the jewish people to keep a bit seperate from the nations, I think that it has been exaggerated and even turned into arrogance (the opposite of Chesed!). There are many non-jews out there who are not "idol-worshippers" and have a very high morale and much wisdom. It's not only us who are good. (And we should even be kind to those who have low morale.) Let us do acts of kindness to everyone, not just the fellow jew.

(10) Anonymous, April 19, 2012 11:34 PM

We Are Ambassadors

having moved from NY to a very small city in Indiana in the 70's I realized several things rather quickly. One was how much my Jewsih identity and heritage meant to me and two, that we are ambassadors of our people. The people I worked with and lived among had never met a Jewish person. Some didn't know we still existed on Earth- just back in the Bible times. My children were born there and from the time they could understand I taught them that we are ambassadors and we needed to show the best side we possibly could. Media LOVES to find the bad side all too often. Lori has said it very well- Good Job, Lori!

(9) Mikhael, April 18, 2012 2:40 AM

Lori's right--BUT

As she says (paraphrasing) , is it right that non-Jews should generalize about us (whether for bad or good) based on how we behave-? As she says, whether it's fair or not, we represent klal Yisrael in our deeds. However, the converse is also true. We should also not judge other groups by the actions of indivduals. If PERSON A from ETHNICITY X behaves a certain way, we shouldn;t assume everyone from ETHNICITY X is that way.

(8) Anonymous, April 17, 2012 11:16 PM

Being brought up as the minority in a small town, where my family had a successful business, taught me from a very early age to behave and speak appropriately, as '"we" were always being judged, Today, I tell my children the same thing, It boils down to a very basic rule. treat others as you likee to be treated. Nobody is any better than you or below you.

(7) Been there, April 17, 2012 7:49 PM

This is an excellent post

Gentiles DO observe Jews and believe me they are not impressed by immoral behavior by Jews.

(6) Leah, April 17, 2012 6:36 PM

The stranger among you

I will never forget sitting across the table from a friend who had just been "excommunicated" from Israel. Her husband was Jewish and both her children were born in Israel. She was not Jewish. When her husband suddenly died they were longer allowed to live in Israel, the only home her children had ever known. She sat across from me with tears in her eyes and said "they still have not yet learned how to treat the stranger among them".

(5) Natana Pesya Kulakofski, April 17, 2012 6:20 PM

We Are Always on Shlichus

B"H As soon as a Jew walks out his front door, he's on shlichus. The rest of the world sees the way he dresses, speaks, and, in general, comports himself. Knowing that he is a Jew, the world concludes that this is how all Jews dress, speak, and comport themselves.

(4) Harriet Wolpoff, April 17, 2012 4:05 PM

The Title

I thoroughly agree with your comments. However, I think your title, "Respecting the Help," is an oxymoron. The term "the help" is a somewhat demeaning reference to those who do a certain category of work for us--surely not a teacher!

SusanE, April 24, 2012 8:08 PM

Respect the help. A Jewish household would not hire non-Jews to cook or clean or otherwise render the home non-kosher would they? Respecting the help would be actually respecting your fellow Jew by giving them work.

(3) Mordy, April 16, 2012 7:08 PM


I pity the children of the mother who has a whole crew of people looking after her children and household. I have nothing against women working outside the house, but to have a full-time chef who oversees other household workers is a bit over the top.

Rachel, April 17, 2012 8:35 PM

You pity them?

Lori's video did not specify why her friend has a large staff. However, regardless of whether the friend works in or outside the home, I can't imagine why you're being critical. As a woman who did work out side the home for much of my children's childhood, I would have loved it if we had the wherewithal to hire people to take care of our home, meals, etc. Instead, there were many nights when we brought in (kosher) takeout, had no time to help with homework, spent the evening on chores, etc. As long as a family can afford a staff, what's the problem? 100 years ago, many families had people working for them to do things that machines do today. Read Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott -- the families in their novels were often lower-middle-class economically, yet they still typically had at least a cook and a maid. If they lived in the country, there may also have been a coachman and a groom for the horses. My daughter had a classmate whose parents were very wealthy and employed a live-in couple who cooked, drove, cleaned, etc. I always told my daughter, "we can't afford that, but it's nice that they can. They have employed 2 people, and they also use a lot of their money to help your school and other important charities." And let's not forget that our liturgy sometimes portrays the relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people as loving Master and devoted servants.

(2) R K, April 16, 2012 3:54 AM

So true!

We are not well-to-do, but do have weekly household help. Not only should we treat housekeepers respectfully in general, but there are specific things we should do. We must pay them on time, give them breaks to eat/drink, & teach our children to address them in a respectful way. Many housekeepers (landscapers, nannies, etc.) are less well-off than most of us. Give them your hand-me-downs instead of Goodwill. If they do their job well, help them find additional work if they have extra time. Provide good references. Also, if you see that your employee is making mistakes (with laundry, or the like), think about their background. I once realized that my housekeeper's mistakes were frequently due to things like a) she grew up in a place where laundry was done in a river, not a machine! b) she didn't have a variety of cleaning products, sponges, etc. to select from in her homeland, and didn't know that each one worked best for a specific job. Be patient and explain what you want clearly and kindly. If you have extra books in your home (esp. bilingual ones if your help is Spanish-speaking), send them to your employee's kids. Ask after their kids. Make sure they're getting a good education. Say thank you and smile. Besides being menschlichkeit, besides being a kiddush HaShem, you'll see your relationship with your worker improve. They'll come to work smiling.

(1) Alan S., April 15, 2012 11:33 AM

Smart advice in general. Haven't parents taught that you can't judge a book by its cover? Surely we must act the part of ambassador when dealing with other nations and peoples. One aside: I do not think that Mrs. Palatnik actually answered an important question she presented in this video. She asked, paraphrasing, is it right that they judge us? She would have said "no, it is not right that they judge us", but instead, Mrs. Palatnik basically answers by saying that it is true that they generalize. There are many things to say in regards to stereotyping, but this is not what the video discusses.

Anonymous, April 15, 2012 6:05 PM


They will judge/hate us regardless of what we do. We have been exiled around the world for centuries. History repeats itself. No matter what country we were in it was always get out, convert, or we will kill you. The Jews lived peacefully in Lithwania 600 years before the war in peace and they turned on us, many worse than the Germans. The Jews embraced Germany and then look what happened. We live in America where now it is not politically correct to say certain things but it doesn't mean people aren't thinking it. When we assimilate(lose our Judaism) we get reminded of who we are again and again. That is how G-d keeps his promise for survival.Sometimes it is hard not to 'belong' but we have to know who we are because the other way will inevitably be much harder. We need to be good for ourselves as Jews first.

James S., April 17, 2012 1:27 PM


I hope you're not using events in the past as an excuse to treat others poorly. I am Jewish, and I have many many Christian friends, who love Judaism and the Jewish people. They tell me that they have seen Jewish people in airports, restaurants, and other places in the past, who were loudly complaining about the service, quality of products, etc, and until they met me, they thought ALL Jews were like that. One person can change the way another sees an entire group. Treat all people as you would like to be treated. It's a Mitzvah !


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