We judge one another.
To judge is “to form an opinion or conclusion about.” Straightforward, right? We need to form opinions and draw conclusions in order to make sense of our world; but yet, when I think of people judging one another there is an implied negativity. We judge people based on appearance, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, abilities (or lack of abilities); often casting aside those who look, act or speak differently than we do. And we judge others when we make assumptions about them.
“Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his [her] place.” (Pirkei Avot 2:5)
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to participate in a broad variety of workshops, trainings and professional development seminars in both special and Jewish education. Yet none has affected me more profoundly than “How Difficult Can This Be? F.A.T. City - A Learning Disabilities Workshop" by Rick Lavoie. This sharply crafted workshop enables teachers to experience learning disabilities first-hand, coming away with a powerful understanding of the day-to-day struggles many students face. Combining this experience with our Jewish values and teachings has helped me to shape the sensitivity training that I offer in workshops and disability awareness programs.
Judging one another may be our default, but it doesn’t have to be.