Letters from Leah
Nov. 13, 2013
Dear Beit Sefer Families,
Earlier this year I wrote about creating our welcoming community. A young, strong voice reminded me today that welcoming everyone is not enough. We need to make an inclusive community that is safe for everyone. All our students, no matter how they look, how they act, what disabilities or discerning features they have must feel that this is their home. That means that we not only have to welcome everyone, but we have to advocate for everyone. If we only teach one thing in our program it must be “B’tzelem Elohim.” We are all made in God’s image, and we all deserve to be treated with respect. This is easy to say, or type, but how do we live it every day? We sometimes have behavior among our students where one students feels put down. Sometimes it is a single event, sometimes it is recurring. Often it is out of sight of the teachers and madrichim.
How do we make sure that any of our students who might be feeling their own emotional pain or feel uncomfortable with someone’s difference don’t act out against someone else?
How do we support any child who is made to feel uncomfortable by a peer?
How do we empower and transform our students, madrichim, teachers, and parents to be allies for each other and advocates for each human being who comes to Beit Sefer?
This letter marks the first step.
Please share with me any ideas, or resources that you have for this process. If you are interested in being an active voice, please contact me. In the meantime, I encourage all of us as parents to talk with our children. Let’s ask them what kind behaviors they are noticing at school and at Beit Sefer. Let’s ask them if they have felt put down, or witnessed any put down behaviors. Let’s provide a place at home where our children will feel that they can let us know what they see or experience so that we can communicate with each other, be responsive and begin processes of support and healing.
It is my vision and goal to create a place where every child can feel safe physically and emotionally. As I realize the challenges involved, and how much I need to learn in order to address this issue, I look to you to be partners as we begin an important process.