April 21, 2021 | 9 Iyar 5781
Dear Barrack Community,
This past year has been inconceivably difficult for all of us. We have now entered the second year of the COVID pandemic, and it was almost a year ago that the murder of George Floyd made us acutely aware of the crisis of racial injustice in our country. George Floyd died at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a policeman charged with the responsibility for public safety. As the National Educators Association shared, "Whatever our race, background, or ZIP code, all of us want to live in safety—without fearing for our lives or the lives of our family members. As we process this news together, we know this verdict represents one small step towards accountability in policing and sends a powerful message to our students."
Yesterday afternoon, Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges. Yesterday, our legal system worked. As we process this verdict together, we know that many of our students may still be feeling a lack of closure. They look to us, their teachers, for guidance. Our Core and History teachers, using a myriad of resources, will create a space for our students to process the implications of this verdict and hold critical conversations over the next number of days.
In this week’s Parsha, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim/אחרי–מות–קדושים, we learn in Vayikra/ויקרא 19:16: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds” | לֹ֥א תַעֲמֹ֖ד עַל־דַּ֣ם רֵעֶ֑ךָ. Many of our synagogues and Jewish organizations have commented on the verdict. In his statement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, said, “Over a billion people saw George Floyd murdered; even more heard today’s just verdict. For too long too many have stood idly by. No more.”
May George Floyd’s memory be for a blessing, and may we all honor his memory by continuing to work for a society that dismantles systemic racism and respects and honors all human beings.
Head of School
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Honor-כבוד | Courage-אומץ לב | Kindness-חסד | Community-קהילה