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Dear FIRSTNAME, 

 

Once again, we started our school day today in the shadow of a horrific school shooting, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  And, once again, all of the educators in our buildings embarked on our day listening for our students' pain and fears, and supporting each other through our own feelings of sadness and hopelessness.  Quite a few members of our school community knew students and teachers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and so yesterday's tragedy has felt especially close to our community.


Today we appreciate with extra poignancy the safety and warmth of our school community.  And tonight I know I will not be alone in hugging my children a little tighter.  


We do not know what your children will share with you when they are home tonight.  In our Early Childhood and Lower School divisions, we did not directly discuss yesterday's events with our students.  Nonetheless, especially since there are students in the Lower School who knew one of the victims, some of our younger students may have heard something about the shooting.  In the Middle School, teachers spoke with students who raised the subject of the shooting and said tefillot for the victims. In our High School, each minyan inserted tefillot for the healing of those injured and some also created space for students to share their feelings and questions. In the afternoon the High School gathered as a full community to reflect and recite tehilim/Psalms.  


As always, we are here to support you and your children.  Please reach out to me, our teachers, our division heads, or our school psychologists.  We value your partnership  and are ready to discuss any of your or your children's questions, concerns, or observations.


Today and every day, our school's own security is our highest priority.  We are blessed to have a strong security team, headed by our Director of Security, Amit Meir, and supported by our professional staff as well as our Board of Trustees' Security Committee.  We are grateful for Amit's invaluable leadership, for his constant review of our protocols, and for the vigilance and expertise of our entire team.  


Rabbi Heschel wrote that "prayer teaches us what to aspire to."  So today, amidst my own feelings of despair, I feel compelled to pray.  I pray that school children everywhere will be able to learn in safety without fear of violence.  I pray that we will never normalize tragedies like this one as a part of our news cycle.  And I pray that our students will be an active part of creating a more peaceful world so that their children will never have to pause their learning to say tehilim for the victims of a school shooting.


With prayers for healing and peace,


Ariela

 

 


THE ABRAHAM JOSHUA HESCHEL SCHOOL
RONALD P. STANTON CAMPUS

Early Childhood Center • Henry Lindenbaum Lower School • Alan B. Slifka Middle School
30 West End Avenue, NYC 10023 • 212 784-1234
High School • 20 West End Avenue, NYC 10023 • 212 246-7717
www.heschel.org

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