Be A Mensch.
Now, more than ever, our societies need more individuals practising small acts of kindness on an everyday basis, working towards making the world a more accepting and welcoming place. In other words, we need more mensches.
Be A Mensch is a reminder of the impact that kindness, humility, integrity and personal responsibility can have on the world – small acts that can make a better society, one person at a time. Be A Mensch is a call for the lessons of history to inspire humanity and empathy.
A mensch, in Yiddish, is a person of integrity, morality, dignity, with a sense of what is right and responsible. The word mensch predates the legal definitions of genocide and human rights – it has its roots in 18th century European concepts of humanism and in the man-to-man laws passed down in the Ten Commandments, which are at the centre of Jewish culture.
But mensch is more than just an old Yiddish adage. It is relevant now, across the world, more than ever…
“To be a mensch is to be supportive. To be a friend, to be calm in troubled times. To support others.” The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, former Justice of the High Court of Australia
“A mensch is involved in noble actions such as being a promoter of peace, unity, love and harmony; helping people, especially those in need; treating people equally without any kind of discrimination; having a desire to give something back to society; helping people who cannot help you; leading by example; having a caring heart; and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” Noel Zihabamwe, Chairperson of the African Australian Advocacy Centre and Member of the Advisory Committee for Australian Human Rights Institute
“At first I tried to change the world and failed. Then I tried to change my family and failed. Finally, I tried to change myself and then I was able to change the world.”
– Rabbi Israel Salanter, 19th century founder of morality movement, Mussar
Join the conversation about doing good #BeAMensch.
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About the campaign
The Sydney Jewish Museum is engaging Holocaust survivors, community leaders and influential individuals from the broader community to encourage personal responsibility and positive values. The Be A Mensch campaign takes lessons from all of human history, past and present, to inspire individuals to, in some way, whether big or small, do more for the rights of others and a better world.
About the Sydney Jewish Museum
The Sydney Jewish Museum was established in 1992 by the generation of Holocaust survivors who came to Australia. They envisioned the Museum as a place which could hold their stories and personal objects, memorialise those who were murdered during the Holocaust, and within which the lessons from the past would be taught.
27 years since its inception, the Sydney Jewish Museum is an continues to give history a voice through collecting and preserving historic objects, commemorating and educating, with a mission to challenge visitors’ perceptions of morality, social justice, democracy and human rights.