From Sanford to Jerusalem: Reverse the Hatred and Heal the World

It seems you can't go anywhere these days without coming across someone's -- in many cases, very passionate -- opinion about the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

There is no question that when these types of tragic situations happen, they affect us all. They bring our own doubts and judgments to the surface. They force us to ponder our own ideals, and perhaps even to question the hatred that exists within humanity. At the same time, we may feel helpless to do anything. Or, worse, we may feel so far removed from the situation that we feel nothing at all -- no responsibility to do anything or even to care.

But as with all negativity in this world, if we can take different point of view, we will realize that there is actually a lot that we can and need to do if we want to make this world a better place to live in.

As I've mentioned before, the chaos in the world, from a spiritual perspective, boils down to one thing: our collective denial of the human dignity of our fellow man. Hatred is not innate. It grows in the dark space created by the prejudice shown by one person to another. We're actually born to learn to love. We're born to care.

You know, for many years, our family -- my husband, Rav Berg, and our four children -- lived in Israel. When we first arrived, we lived in Jerusalem. Every Saturday, we would walk through one of the Arab areas, and it wasn't long before we became friends with the people there.

Eventually, two beautiful young Muslim boys from that neighborhood "adopted" us and we "adopted" them. They lived in our home and played ball with our kids. When the Rav and I occasionally went to Tel Aviv to teach, these brothers, Yasir and Sufian Jabarin, looked after our children.

Twelve years later, we were sitting on a plane reading a magazine article about a terrorist who had blown up a bus, killing himself and 24 people. It was a horrible story and it became even more upsetting when we recognized the photo of the bomber: It was Sufian Jabarin, our young babysitter.

We were stunned. How could someone who had been so responsible and caring for our sons do something like that? How poorly had this boy been treated along the way that violence became his chosen path in life? Was it racial profiling or simply the inability of other people to accept him?

But Sufian is just one example of millions of kids currently growing up in impoverished neighborhoods around the world -- one example of kids, who, from a young age, are taught that their existence has no significance, that they don't deserve to be heard or respected or treated with human dignity.

At the Kabbalah Centre, we teach that there is a power that transcends the physical world and that this awesome power -- this spark of the Creator -- exists in each and every one of us. Therefore, it behooves us to treat those who stand before us as we ourselves would want to be treated because we are all from the same source. No matter what a person does or does not do, no matter who this person is or is not, we must grant him or her the human dignity that is his or her divine right.

This is the only way we can start to reverse the hatred and heal the world.