Empathizing with parents across the country who have been triggered with fear following the deadly massacre in Uvalde that took away 19 precious little lives, Jewish Day Schools, and Rabbis have risen to the occasion, reassuring families of the safety of their children.
Responding to parents that have naturally clutched their children tighter after the Robb Elementary School shooting, numerous Jewish Day Schools across the country sent letters to parents with tips on how to talk to their children about the tragedy. Others recited prayers and encouraged students to do good deeds in memory of the victims.
In one such letter sent to parents by the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Maryland, the institution assured parents that the news was addressed to students in “developmentally appropriate” ways, so as not to encourage them to do the same, or live in fear.
During morning announcements, the principal of the lower school, Rabbi Matthew Bellas asked students to observe a moment of silence and be thankful for those who care for them and those who keep them safe.
Rabbi Dovid Fox, director of Chai Lifeline’s Crisis Services advised parents to let their children share what they have heard about the shooting and be willing to answer all their questions, even if they need to answer, “I don’t know.” And, of course, it’s important for parents to listen to what their children want to say, even if he or she brings the subject up days from now.
Rabbi Yitzchok Schmukler of League City, Texas, believes strongly that the time has come to focus on morals and ethics in all schools, including public schools. He also suggested that adults empower children to find ways to answer the “darkness” with goodness. “Find ways for children to volunteer,” he said, “to do an act of kindness, visit a senior, get involved in a way to channel their fear and concern.”