'We are still here'

An open letter to Jewish children

An open letter to Jewish children, all around the world, my own included. 

Photo: Supplied/Dreamtime
Photo: Supplied/Dreamtime

Dear Jewish kids

I imagine right now must be a very confusing and scary time. I wish, to every inch of my fibre, just like your parents do, that this madness in the world wasn’t happening. But it is.

Three years ago, you encountered something that none of us had to encounter in our lives, not as your parents, and even grandparents.

A rogue virus that turned your worlds upside down and put you into lockdown. It was a scary time too, but here we are again, without masks and able to meet up, as friends, at schools, parties and functions. Something we couldn’t imagine at the beginning of the outbreak. But it passed. It went away.

On the 7th of October 2023, another virus broke out. One of hate. Antisemitism. And you watched the tv in total horror, with your parents, your family and friends, and wondered how could this have happened? Who would ever do such horrific things to people? Unimaginable things.

Every year on Purim you learn about Haman. An evil man who sought to kill the Jews until Queen Esther and her uncle Mordechai stopped him, by getting the help of the king. This is no different sadly. It’s the 2023 version of the same story.

And like the ending of the Covid virus, this virus of hate will also die down. It won’t disappear completely, unfortunately, because it has always been there.

It was there when we were slaves unto Pharaoh, it’s was there during the Spanish Inquisition, the Pogroms of Europe, the Holocaust, and it will be there for generations to come. Possibly forever. It’s a madness that never completely dies.

But it will recede at some point, and life will assume it’s normal ebb and flow. Time, as you will learn, is a great healer.

The human spirit recovers, and awful memories fade. It’s how we go on. It’s why we are still here after more than 5000 years. The oldest and most ancient religion. The tribe of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The tribe of David. Of Solomon. Of Moses. We endure. We survive. And ultimately, we thrive. We always do.

It won’t be an easy time. It’s going to be very difficult. Because we are hated for nothing we have ever done. Other than survive and thrive.

The Pharaohs are gone. The Caesars are gone. Both, giant empires that enslaved us. Gone. But we are still here.

It was hard to see it at the time, just like it may be hard to see it now. But it will go, it will disappear. And we will be here. We will endure. And we will thrive.

Our enemies don’t like this fact. It drives them insane. But their hatred is also their poison, and the more they drink it, the more they’ll disappear. Because the Universe loves light. It loves positivity, creativity and joy. It doesn’t respond to hate. It doesn’t reward hate. Hate kills itself off.

So I say this to you. Don’t hate. Pity the haters. Their time will be short. Don’t let them make you feels less of yourself. Their hate is their problem. It has nothing to do with you, or anything you have done, or your forefathers, right back to the beginning of time.

Be proud of your beautiful traditions. Be proud of your heritage. Embrace your identity. Be wise. Be careful and avoid the wolves. They are out there. Know this. Avoid them. Let the wolves go hungry. Don’t feed them. Let them disappear. Again. And they will. It may just take some time.

You are worthy. In every possible way. And more. You are a good people. A kind people. And a people who have consistently chosen life, love and light, over darkness. Don’t give in to darkness now. It’s not who we are.

Respect yourselves and those around you. Focus on the positive. Focus on healing. Focus on being the best, kindest, smartest and most generous version of yourself. That is our way. That is why we are still here, in the year 5784.

Your parents love you, your grandparents love you. Your family and friends love you. And your community loves you. And there are many, many people, far more than you’ll ever know, who love you. From all races, all religions and ethnically.

There are millions of good people in the world who will find their voice and who will stand up. Many who were and are blind, but will now begin to see. Have faith. Go on. Be positive. Have fun. Laugh. Even through tears.

There is an enduring truth of “this too shall pass”. And it will. And you will survive and thrive.

Be brave. Be positive. Look forwards. Be kind. Be generous. And don’t forget to smile.

Even though I don’t know many of you, I also do. Because I was once a Jewish kid too. I get it.

All my love,


*Mike Abel is the executive chairman and founding partner at M&C SAATCHI Group of Companies and M&C SAATCHI ABEL. This piece was first published on Marais Road Shule/Green and Sea Point Hebrew Congregation Facebook page and has been reproduced with permission.

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