Alex came into the classroom and at once noticed the new boy. He had thick-rimmed glasses. Although the class was buzzing before the lesson, no one was talking to the new boy.

Soon the lesson began. Mr. Frankel, their history teacher, was talking about something and showed them quite interesting pictures on a screen. Then at last it was break, and Alex and his friend Daniel were together as usual in the playground.

Suddenly they could see the new boy approaching them. They went quiet. "Hi," said Alex, "what's your name?"

"Joseph," answered the new boy. He seemed to have an accent of some kind. "Where are you from?" asked Daniel. "From France," answered Joseph.

"How long have you been here in England?" asked Alex. "Excuse me?" said Joseph. "Can you pliz say it again?"

"How long have you been in England?" repeated Alex, saying each word slowly.

"Two weeks," said Joseph. Again the boys went quiet. Sam, who was also in their class, came up to their corner of the playground.

"He's from France," said Daniel, rolling his eyes in an unfriendly way. Sam sniggered, and didn't say anything. Then the bell went, and they began going back to the classroom.

Here was Mr. Benson, teaching them about the weekly Torah reading.

"Abraham lived at a time when everyone served idols. Even his own father was the idol merchant of his city Ur Kasdim. But then Abraham realized that there is one G‑d, and we should only serve Him. The Midrash tells us that he broke the idols in his father's store. He knew what was right, and refused to follow the tide of everyone doing wrong."

Mr. Benson looked around at the boys in the class. Alex seemed to be listening intently.

"Now, another point," said Mr. Benson. "Abraham represents a certain quality. Who can tell me what that is?"

The boys looked blank. Then, to everyone's surprise, Joseph, the new boy, put up his hand.

"He represent the qualité of Chesed," said Joseph, with a strong French accent.

"Yes!" said Mr. Benson. "The quality of Kindness!"

The class went on, but Alex was no longer listening. There were two ideas going round and round in his head. One was that you have to stand against the tide and do what is right, whatever other people are doing. The other idea was the quality of Kindness.