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Dear FIRSTNAME, 

 

Like so many of us, I ended shabbat yesterday evening only to immerse myself in the tragic news of the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. I know that we are all praying for the comfort and healing of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. I know we are all praying for our nation's peace and safety and for our ability to raise our children in a world where all people of all faiths can live and worship without fear of violence. And I know we are all committed, in keeping with our school's mission, to fighting against the virulent hatred and anti-semitism that enabled this tragedy.

 

Each and every day, there is nothing more important to our school than our community's physical safety. And, each and every day, including yesterday when our team responded quickly and thoughtfully, I am grateful to work with Amit Meir, our full-time Director of Security, and his team, as well as our Board-appointed Security Committee to ensure the security and safety of our school buildings. Some of our security systems are visible, others are quite intentionally not. Our constant vigilance and monitoring--our commitment to proactively evaluating and reviewing our policies and systems--means that we do not need to alter our systems or procedures in response to the shooting in Pittsburgh.

 

Tomorrow and beyond, we will support one another as we process and mourn this weekend's tragedy. We will arrive at school tomorrow ready to return to the sacred work of teaching our students lessons that lie at the core of our mission: that we can and must disagree with respect and civility; that violence is never the way to express our passions; that prejudice against others is always dangerous and damaging; and that we are all responsible for bringing peace to our world.

 

In our Early Childhood and Lower School divisions, we are not planning proactively to raise the Pittsburgh attack with the children. We will be paying particularly close attention, however, to what the students share when they begin their day with Morning Meeting so that we can support them if they are processing this tragedy. In Middle School and High School we will come together in the morning to share our communal prayers, our own feelings of mourning, as well as our communal commitment to justice, peace, and repairing the world around us. In all of our divisions, as always, our faculty and staff will be listening for our students' questions and concerns so that we can support each child as needed. And, as always, we are all partners in supporting our children. Please be in touch with me or any member of the Heschel administration, faculty, or staff with any questions or thoughts.

 

With Pittsburgh in our thoughts, hearts, and prayers, I pray for a shavuah tov, a good, safe, peaceful week,

 

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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