This week’s HRE23 Grade 9 class, taught by Daniella Kartuz, discusses peer and social pressures and explores ways to survive peer pressure, drawing from the Torah and modern examples.
The Blind Side:
How Michael Oher Made It
The class read about the amazing life of Michael Oher and how he resisted the temptation of his surroundings to reach for his dream. He personified the strength it takes to sometimes stand apart and do what is right, instead of giving into peer pressure, when your surroundings push you in directions that are not in your best interest.
Here’s a synopsis: Long before Oher made it to the NFL, he didn’t have a family to speak of. He grew up in a rough part of Memphis, Tenn., the son of a crack-addict mother and an absent father. When he enrolled in high school, he didn’t have a permanent home. Fortunately for Oher, he met Tony Henderson, who ran a neighborhood athletic program.
Then the Tuohy family took him in. “It was easy for me to say, you know, I want to hang out, you know, with these guys and, you know, do drugs and, you know, not go to school,” said Oher. “But I decided I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to, you know, be something in life.”
But the moment his family never thought possible finally arrived: Oher graduated from high school. “It was unbelievable just to, you know, walk across the stage and shake the principal’s hand. I was the first one … out of anybody that I ever knew to, you know, graduate. … It was … a great experience.”
After playing just three years for Ole Miss, Michael Oher became eligible for the NFL draft.
ethics from our fathers
Demonstrating that the Bible is the source for Jewish ethical conduct in in Judaism, the class read and discussed verse 6:6 in Pirkei Avot. “Mit’rahek min hakavod”– literally “keep far from honor.” The verse teaches us not to look to others for recognition, but to find it within ourselves. People who are satisfied with themselves don’t need public recognition to reassure their worth. The key, therefore, to resisting peer pressure, is to develop a deep sense of self-worth, to look inside oneself for answers rather than your surroundings.
Torah High is more than a school that teaches knowledge; it teaches Jewish ethics and values that help kids stay true to who they are and strive for the best within themselves.
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