An Open Letter to Jewish Students, Staff and Families

An Open Letter to Jewish Students, Staff and Families
Posted on 09/23/2022
An Open Letter to Jewish Students, Staff and Families

Each fall, the Jewish community celebrates the High Holy Days, beginning with the Jewish new year on Rosh Hashanah (September 25-27, 2022) and closing with Yom Kippur (October 4-5, 2022).  These ten days, known as the Days of Awe, are a time for reflection and rebuilding of relationships. We recognize that this is a time for our Jewish students, staff and families to celebrate.  We are enriched by your contributions to our school communities.

 

At this time of celebration, we acknowledge that our relationship with the Jewish community is in need of repair.  Over the past months, we have heard concerns from parents, staff, students, and community partners about the rise of antisemitism in schools, the need for more awareness and action by the school district, as well as more recent concern about our approach to professional learning.  

 

We want you to know that we hear you, we see you, we are listening, and we too are reflecting on the need to rebuild our relationship.  We are unequivocal in our  condemnation of antisemitism and all forms of hate. And, we are absolute in our commitment to working and learning together.

 

Last spring, we addressed the complexity of balancing political realities and tensions at home and overseas. Our sphere of influence and the focus of our work must be our students, staff and families.  It’s clear that we need to continue to build supportive classrooms and spaces such as the Jewish Employee Resource Group, and Jewish Student Unions in schools.  We welcome the expansion of these and encourage interested students to speak with their school administrators.  We are also working to enhance information about antisemitism in our learning resources, on our website and on our staff portal. We understand that awareness, learning and critical thinking are important preventative steps, and we must engage with sensitivity and care as we continue to do this work. We also understand the importance of taking action and responding to antisemitic events and acts of hate.  We are committed to creating a framework that allows student voice and actions, while protecting students from harm.

 

The marking of a new year is always symbolic of a fresh start and new beginnings, and we are hopeful that we can build new bridges with you in the new year ahead. We wish all who are celebrating this most cherished holiday in the Jewish community, Shanah Tovah.


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