Addressing the Horrific Events in our Nation's Capital

Saddened and shocked by the devastating and horrific events that took place in our nation’s capital yesterday, our Lower School and Upper School administrators and teachers spoke with our students today in assemblies as well as individual classes to allow students to express their feelings and to grapple with the violence and unrest that occurred. 

During the Upper School assembly, Mr. Herskowitz reminded students of NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s message when he spoke to students last month via Zoom. “We’ve got to get to young people, to teach them so they don’t have room for hate in their hearts,” Grewal said. “You guys are our best hope. You’re going to be the ones that change this.”

Though the Attorney General was referring to the antisemitic attack in Jersey City, his words still ring true today. Mr. Shapiro reiterated that these acts of violence cannot and should not happen in our country and encouraged students to engage in conversations respectfully in their classes and with their guidance counselors and learning specialists. “In the United States, we hold ourselves up as a model to the rest of the world, and the images of last night were jarring,” he said. “ How do we remedy this? When we look at the teachings of the Torah — tzedek, tzedek tirdof - justice, justice, you shall pursue —this is not how we pursue justice. We need to act with care, and I do feel a sense of hope for the future.” 

Upper School Social Studies faculty member Mr. Ober and Judaic Studies Department Chair Rabbi Dr. Waldman reassured students they can find comfort in history and Jewish texts. Historic events have proven that our country has persevered even after events that challenged us as a nation.

Speaking to the Lower School community at Morning Meeting today, Mrs. Siegel and Mrs. Spector acknowledged the many feelings students may be experiencing in response to the devastating and historic events that occurred at our nation’s capitol yesterday — the images of violence and the disregard for the sacred values America was founded on, specifically a peaceful transition of power.  Reciting the customary morning exercises that include the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of God Bless America, reminded students that together we have the ability and responsibility to be an example to others as we reaffirm our commitment to peace, respect, and an American democracy that embraces different points of view as a cornerstone of our country and the principles it was founded upon more than 200 years ago. 

Both programs concluded with the recitation of the Prayer for Our Country as we all pray for a return to peace and calm in Washington DC and throughout our entire country.