It is hard to find words to acknowledge what happened at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Shabbat morning. We are all processing the loss of life, the senseless act of violence and the blatant anti-Semitism, and what this means for us as individuals and as Jews. At times like this we are reminded of the sacredness of life. We hug each other a little tighter, do what we can to unite and support our fellow Jews in Pittsburgh, and ask God ופרש עלינו סכת שלומך, to spread over us your shelter of peace.
These events also compel us to reflect critically on our own security plans, protocols, and procedures. We have been in touch with both the Jewish Federation and the RCMP, and as always, the safety of our community is a top priority. According to all of our information, there is no increased security threat to the Jewish community in Canada at this time, but the RCMP has committed to increasing patrols around Jewish community institutions over the next few days.
RJDS has a detailed, professionally-advised security plan in place, and some of our security features have recently been upgraded. Please understand that safety protocols require that many of our plan’s details remain confidential. While we continue to hope that we will never experience any such event, we regularly practice drills to ensure that our children, faculty and staff are prepared.
We deeply appreciate your ongoing partnership in keeping RJDS a safe and welcoming school and community. We ask that you, our families, remain vigilant, never open our doors for someone you don’t recognize nor share your key fobs with anyone. As always, if you ever see or hear something that seems out of the ordinary at school, please say something. In light of the media coverage, I thought it would be helpful to share some resources with you regarding how to talk about these very difficult topics with children. The links below and attached pdf provide some resources that you may find helpful.
As our tradition teaches, “Who acts from love is greater than who acts from fear” – Talmud (Sota 31a). May we work towards a day where all people use their hands only to join together in peace and unity.
With hope for a better world,
Ronit Amihude Jessica Folk-Farber Ronit Berger
Head of School Board Co-Chair Board Co-Chair