My Chabad Heroine, Rebbetzin Perla

My Chabad Heroine, Rebbetzin Perla

This past Saturday night, Josh and I went to meet Rabbi Zalman and Perla Zaltzman, co-directors of the Brock University Chabad House who are visiting Israel this week. We know Rabbi Zalman and Perla through Josh’s sister, Zipporah, who spent this year as a sociology professor at Brock. Zipporah isn’t halachically Jewish and wouldn’t usually frequent Chabad Houses, but after October 7th, Zipporah was shocked to her core to find that her political allies and even her closest friends on the radical-left were siding with Hamas against Israel and the Jewish people. Suddenly, she found herself politically homeless, experiencing profound betrayal as well as an urgent desire and need to stand up for the Jewish people and Israel. The Chabad House and Rabbi Zalman and Perla have been pillars of support for Zipporah over the last months, providing a sanctuary for her through these dark and challenging times [Zipporah’s currently writing an article for JewishMom.com about her experiences which I’m looking forward to posting in the near future].

When I met Rebbetzin Perla, I asked if her family had experienced any anti-Semitic incidents since the beginning of the war. She shared the following story, accompanied by the disclaimer, “It really wasn’t a big deal!” I guess that’s what makes Rebbetzin Perla a heroine as well as a true disciple of the Rebbe, standing up proud and without hesitation against antisemitism is her natural first reaction. Here’s the incredible story she told me:
“A few weeks ago, my kids went to the playground on Shabbos afternoon along with 2 Israeli national service girls who volunteer at our Chabad House. My 7-year-old son was wearing a kippah, and when my kids and the Israeli girls were on their way home, somebody opened the door of a house and yelled at them, ‘Free Palestine!’
“My kids were terrified. They didn’t know what would come next. Were they about to get assaulted by this person, G-d forbid? It was very scary.
“When my kids came home and told me what had happened, I put on my coat, went straight to the house, and discovered a bunch of Brock students lived there.
“When I confronted the students about what had happened, they said it hadn’t been them, none of them took responsibility.
“So I told them, ‘Regardless, I want you to know that it’s really inappropriate to yell that kind of stuff, especially at kids. That is hate speech.’
“That caught the students off guard, ‘Really? That’s hate speech?’ one asked.
“‘Yes,’ I explained, ‘when anti-Israel slogans are directed at a Jewish person, it’s hate speech. When you see a child wearing a kippah, a Jewish child, and you yell at him ‘Free Palestine,’ what does he have to do with the conflict? What’s yelling at him going to solve? it’s just going to intimidate and scare him, which is the point of all hate speech’
“The students still claimed it hadn’t been them, that there had been other people at the house that day.
“But no matter who actually yelled at my kids, I’m happy I did what I did. This incident wasn’t a big deal, but it certainly felt like a big deal at the time. People need to know that if harassed, we WILL NOT remain silent. No more. Never again.”

 

2 comments

  1. What a brave woman! Chabad rocks, what can I say. We should all take example from Rebetzin Perla.

  2. Love Love Love this
    Thank you.
    Good Shabbos to all

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