One Psychology professor from Jerusalem, Israel suddenly became an internet sensation, fielded interview requests from all across the world, and earned devotion from parents of babies everywhere, all because of a simple gesture – holding a crying baby of one of his students during a lecture.
The 67-year-old college educator, Sydney Engelberg, who teaches graduate courses in organizational behavior at Hebrew University and Ono Academic College, didn’t know who shot the photo, or even when it was taken. According to reports, the photo was shared by a former student on an Israeli social media site.
Engelberg said Israeli society is very family-oriented and doesn’t just give lip service to the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.
Moreover, because of compulsory military service, Israeli students tend to begin school at an older age and are more likely to have young children. “Just for that demographic reason, one has to be understanding,” he said.
Given the fact that children are often present during his lectures, Engelberg did what came to him naturally and spontaneously when the infant began to disrupt his class, he picked up the baby and walked around so everyone could continue learning.
This way, the student could continue to participate in a group exercise, and the rest of the class wouldn’t be negatively affected.
However, despite having four children and five grandchildren of his own, Engelberg said he’s no baby whisperer, and the secret to his baby-calming success was simply showing a little care and concern – things he believes both babies and the world are looking for more of.
Sarit Fishbaine, Engelberg’s daughter, discovered the photo and proudly shared it on her Facebook page with a message in Hebrew, saying: “The way he sees the concept of getting the education is not only learning the dry facts that you need to learn in class, but also learning values.” She ended the post with, “My father is the best in the world.”