Rashi students understand that social justice is fully integrated into our way of thinking, behaving, and interacting with others. It connects to almost everything they study.
Tzedek (justice), one of Rashi’s five core values, is the heart of our curriculum and an essential part of our identity as a community. Our commitment to Tzedek emanates from our Reform Jewish tradition, which teaches us that all creation has one source and that humankind is created in the Divine image. Tikkun olam (repairing the world) is part of our sacred mission.
Social Justice Emphasis
The Rashi social justice curriculum connects intimately to other key character development goals of a Rashi education, including democratic leadership, citizenship, critical thinking, and awareness of the diverse social forces in our world. Social justice is integrated into every appropriate aspect of the curriculum as well as activities in the broader school community. We constantly seek, identify, explore and highlight acts of social justice that occur around us. Most importantly, we model social justice every day in interactions with one another as students, teachers, peers, colleagues and friends.
Our work with each grade is thoughtful, deliberate, relevant, developmentally appropriate, presented within a spiral curriculum and always based on Jewish text. We help students derive meaning from texts which were written years ago by examining them critically to find relevance to their lives today.
Younger students learn about organizations that perform mitzvot and make connections to children's literature with a social justice theme. We identify Tzedakah Heroes – ordinary people doing extraordinary things who saw problems and worked to fix them.
In Middle School, social justice permeates the curriculum, appearing in units such as Holiness in Jewish Studies (Leviticus), Recycling/Protecting the Earth (trash unit in science), Language Arts (A Raisin in the Sun), and Social Justice Issues during the Great Depression (Grade 8 social studies).
We actualize our learning through mitzvot, which makes the concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, tangible and visible for students. Students learn that social justice is a mandate from our tradition – each of us has unique skills and interests which we can put to work in some area which needs our help.
We emphasize that even children can make a difference in the world and we support each student's efforts to identify a problem of particular interest and to apply his or her unique skills to help address the problem.
Find out more about Social Justice as part of Jewish Life at Rashi