Professor Sydney Engelberg, a lecturer at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, created an online firestorm this week after a picture of him holding a student’s baby while lecturing went viral and was viewed over a million times. However, it is the story behind this simple picture that many find incredibly moving.
Engelberg, a 45-year teaching vet, was unfazed when the baby of one of his students started crying during class. And as the embarrassed mother attempted to leave the classroom, without missing a beat, Engelberg simply picked up the infant, pacified him in his arms, and continued with the lecture.
Sydney’s daughter, Sarit Fishbaine shared the photo on her Facebook page, and described her father as encouraging to his female students with children – telling them that they can bring their kids to lectures and even breastfeed if need be.
“Show me another professor who does that,” Fishbaine wrote. “Because my dad is simply the best in the world.”
Obviously proud of her papa, Sarit continued, “This is what I call an excellent organizational behavior lesson! Dad, you’re the best!”
Her post has since been liked almost 50,000 times and has had over 4,000 shares.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Sarit stated that her dad, a native of South Africa, usually has student mothers in his master’s degree class and loves kids.
“There’s a lot of young moms and a lot of them have babies, and he encourages them to just bring their babies to class,” she said.
Adding, “My dad just loves kids and loves babies, he has five grandchildren, so he just takes the baby.
“He’s the one that’s in motion, he’s walking around the class. So he just takes the baby and continues teaching.”
According to Engelberg’s family, his newfound global fame has not daunted the social psychologist, who has since received numerous calls from radio and TV stations.
The 67-year-old professor even got a few love letters from admirers.
“He’s pretty blasé about it, and we just find it all very funny. I think it must have happened on a no-news day,” Engelberg’s wife, Fredi Siskind Engelberg, told Yahoo.
However, the millions of people who find the photo of the professor and the baby endearing would disagree, as many find his actions admirable.
One person wrote on Imgur, “This is a professor who truly cares about the education of his students. Seriously.”
While another noted on Facebook that “It takes a village,” and commended the lecturer for choosing to “stand by their students who are mothers, and do what it takes so that they can study while raising families.”
Still, because it’s “so natural for him,” Engelberg’s daughter said he doesn’t understand why the picture has made such a global impact.
“The way he sees the concept of getting education is not only learning the dry facts that you need to learn in class, but also learning values,” said Sarit. “And that’s the very important message that my dad wants to endow to the world.”
[Image via Imgur]