We’ve all seen it and laughed but it’s really not funny- anymore. Today with the advent of social media, there’s really no such thing as a ‘private’ joke. A cute picture or a harmless comment often finds its way onto social media and is immediately misconstrued as racist or worse. The outrageous actions of a few unthinking people, force many of us to hide our faces in shame. This need not be. We all need to better understand that every action, big or small, has a potential reaction. A private prank or an insensitive costume on Purim, once no big deal, can have serious repercussions as we’ve seen all too well. Don’t take my word for it, ask Assemblyman Dov Hikind who meant no harm a few years ago. Social media has changed all that. Nothing is private if it’s posted on twitter, whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook etc… The secular media has hungry reporters looking for stories about us. Don’t become one.

I particularly point to the centuries old custom of hanging an effigy of Haman. Today unfortunately we Jews know all too well how it feels to be singled out for harassment. Be it a bomb threat or the always horrific swastika, we understand hatred and we understand intolerance. But we are not alone in that feeling. Other communities particularly minorities, suffer discrimination too. They, like us, know how it feels to be targeted and we need to be sensitive to that reality. They don’t understand the harmless symbolism of the hanging Haman the same way we do. They have their own interpretation. Think about it. ‎Look,‎ I love Purim and I absolutely hate political correctness but we are in galus and must be sensitive to our world around us. Double parking, public drunkenness, and bad behavior is something we can all agree is not appropriate, even on Purim. We have neighbors, Jews and non- Jews alike, who need to considered before vomiting on their lawn or blocking their driveway. It’s just not cool or Jewish to run around all night screaming at the top of your lungs disturbing sleeping neighbors. ‎Please by all means go out, collect tzedokah and have a blast but remember who and where you are. Enjoy your private party but try to keep it private. Let’s enjoy the concept of live and let live by not blaring loud music that disturbs everyone. It’s Purim not Mardi-Gras. Many of your gentile neighbors don’t understand how such special people could behave so un-special. Show some humanity from those you expect the same from. Think about it.

Now I know what your thinking, who does this guy think he is? I’m you and you are me. We are both trying to live our lives peacefully in galus as religious Jews. Don’t look for reasons to criticize this article or the writer, instead find reasons to embrace the opportunity to make a Kiddush Hashem. So to review, ‎ if you think dressing up as a member of a minority is a clever idea, think again- it’s not. If you feel like hanging up an effigy of Haman in dread locks, please reconsider the broad ramifications of your actions. Giving haters the opportunity to accuse us of being racist is preventable if you just think. We are lucky to live in America and this land provides us the incredible right to practice our religion how we wish. But nobody has the right to act in a way that insults, disturbs or demeans anyone. We are a great people, let’s act like it. Just think. Have a happy and safe Purim.

Mordechai Hayehudi‎