Month of Mindful Speech to Help Unite and Heal
As Jewish communities throughout Colorado are continue to grapple with the ongoing war in Israel, the loss of over 1,400 lives, and hundreds of hostages taken by terrorists, many continue to find ways to respond, unite, and make a difference. Beginning November 1st, over 70 Jewish organizations throughout Colorado will join together for a month-long “Clean Speech” campaign to strengthen unity and focus on their individual and collective abilities to value and honor each other. Led by Rabbi Raphael Leban, Managing Director of the Jewish Experience in Denver, the local community campaign will underscore respect and dignity for each other.
“The world has just witnessed one of the most horrific examples of cruelty in decades. The terrorists’ brutality had an utter disregard for the value of human life,” says Rabbi Leban.
“Our campaign seeks to ensure everyone in our community knows their own precious value and infinite worth – that they are special and filled with greatness – that they are worthy of respect—self-respect— as well as the respect of others. When we speak to one another, the words we exchange should reflect that greatness,” Rabbi Leban adds.
Participants in the Colorado Clean Speech campaign, will receive daily 2-3 minute educational videos on the theme of Words of Greatness/Honor, everyday insights and tips on how to speak with dignity, honor and respect to each other and those around us. Over 70 Jewish organizations and schools will participate this year and it’s expected to reach over 50,000 people.
“Instead of watching graphic, violent videos of terrorists bent on destruction and death, our campaign offers a very different kind of video – one that gives a positive message and tools for changing the way we speak to one another,” says Leban.
In addition to videos, the Clean Speech Colorado campaign will ‘take to the road.’ The Clean Speech team will travel around the area daily in their “Clean Speech Cruiser” to recognize and honor “champions” throughout the Jewish community. The decorated bus will visit organizations and schools throughout the metro area and Boulder, highlighting special individuals that exemplify the principles of honor and mindful speech.
Inspired by the late Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, the campaign’s lessons will underscore his teachings that “kavod is the outward expression of inner virtue.” The concept of kavod is an eternal Jewish value, as seen in the fifth of the Ten Commandments — to honor one’s parents. The campaign will offer many tools to communicate with kavod.
“The Torah teaches that every one of us is a unique, precious soul, which gives life infinite value,” says Rabbi Leban. “The value of every moment of human life is a Jewish contribution to world thinking.”
The Clean Speech Colorado campaign was initially launched by Rabbi Leban in 2019 as a response to mounting concerns regarding the increasingly confrontational discourse among communities and online platforms.
Over the last five years, the campaign has taken off. To date, in major cities across North America, over 200 organizations have participated, with more than 100,000 views of “Clean Speech” educational videos.
This year, in addition to the Colorado campaign, New York City, Cincinnati, Ottawa (Canada), and Santa Barbara will run Clean Speech campaigns in November. Toronto, Cleveland, St. Louis, New Jersey, Dallas, Los Angeles, and the United Kingdom will run Rabbi Leban’s campaign in early 2024.
“Although we are outraged and heartbroken with the atrocities committed on our brothers and sisters, we are also galvanized in solidarity as a Jewish community to defend, support and encourage each other with honor and respect,” says Rabbi Leban.
For information on how to participate in Clean Speech this November, go to https://cleanspeech.com/colorado/. Participation is free and open to all.