The following message was sent to Rashi families on June 1, 2020.
Dear Rashi Families,
Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdof | Justice, justice, you shall pursue
As I hear from many of you across the community, I, too, am horrified by the continued violence towards brown and black people in our country, most recently the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. As an educational leader, I believe it is of great importance to guide our school community to learn to be effective allies and upstanders with communities of color. Our students, through their practice of social justice and work with the ADL and Facing History curricula, learn to stand up to the injustices faced by underrepresented communities in our country.
Perspective taking is an important developmental skill and our faculty are working to help our children at every age to understand their ability and obligation to heal this broken world and to value every human being equally. On the walls of our dining hall the words Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof are written (Justice, justice you shall pursue). In our Torah, words are repeated infrequently and never without purpose. Justice is repeated here because, “it is just that important,” in the words of a Rashi Middle School student or as explained in these three minutes from a Rabbi in Minnesota on Saturday.
At Rashi, we know that our compassion and understanding are important and that when they lead to action, we can make a difference. Let us all recommit to standing up for what is right, to leaning into uncomfortable conversations, and to using our sacred platform to educate our students. Let us recommit to growing a generation that will redouble efforts to dismantle the systems that maintain institutionalized racism.
These conversations require courage. We must harness our sadness, anger, and frustration to engage and pursue justice. As a school leader, I pledge to do the work. Together, our faculty and staff will do the reading, listening, learning, and make space for the conversations. We must all work to become better allies and to support one another in standing against racism.
In community, Adam W. Fischer Head of The Rashi School