June 22, 2020
Greetings USJ Families,
While our leadership team has recently been focusing on the challenges of ending the spring semester, recognizing the accomplishments of our students, and now starting school in the fall, I feel I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to share and to challenge our school community in the wake of recent national events that, no doubt, also impact us as a school family.
Our nation has experienced trying times through the COVID-19 pandemic, the accompanying social and economic stresses, and now we have been moved by accounts of racial injustice, and daily scenes elucidate how these have shaken our nation. Like everyone, I have been deeply troubled by images of racism, frustrated by violence in the streets, and inspired by acts of kindness and reconciliation. As a long-time student and teacher of history, I understand how the issue of race has shaped our nation, how much progress has been made in this regard, as well as the challenges we continue to face as Americans. We are now living in a critical period in our history.
As an educator in an independent school whose mission expressly values mutual respect, I see this as an opportunity for us to practice what we preach. I have taught in many institutions, none of whom value diversity more or are more welcoming of all students than USJ. This being said, we must always recognize that we are all works in progress, have room to grow, and much to learn. It is my hope that we as individual families and as a school community use our current state as a society to initiate conversations with our children that challenge them to rise above the negativity and political noise and seek to advance the cause of understanding and love for our fellow man.
Education is a noble profession, one that calls us to higher things. I love our school and the principles upon which we were founded. We value all people and are proud to be a part of an inclusive community. We strive daily to live up to the ideals of our Judeo-Christian tradition, which teach us to embody love and to strive toward the standard that we treat others the way we wish to be treated. Let us always be willing to speak out against the injustice of racism and to use our voice to defend those who defend the helpless. Let us as an institution of learning seize this moment to encourage our children to act in a peaceful and positive manner that might bring about a better world and to live lives that constantly place others before self. These ideals are consistent with the mission of USJ and are worthy of our efforts as a school community.
Sincerely and Optimistically,
Head of School
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