A message from the Head of School regarding the tragedy in Pittsburgh

What can we do?

In recent days we have been confronted by a series of extremely disquieting events, including the horrific attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue this past Saturday in Pittsburgh, PA. No matter what our background or beliefs, we must categorically condemn the ignorance, bigotry, and hatred behind such acts and do all we can to counteract them. I personally believe that TJ provides a powerful antidote to such destructive forces: excellent education.
As a community of parents, teachers, and students, it is our shared responsibility to foster intellectual and personal growth—in everyone. That means knowing how to seek good information from reliable, credible sources and learning how to
identify what is actually “fake news,” as opposed to facts or informed opinions we may not like. It means learning how to read and observe closely, listen carefully, and engage in thoughtful discussion. It means developing the capacity to challenge assumptions, beginning with our own, and to accept as well as give constructive criticism. It means being willing to change. And it means understanding and remembering that at all times and in every way, words matter. In all of this, we must strive to keep an open heart, one that exercises compassion and adheres to hope. I know that isn’t always easy to do.

For me, TJ students are the embodiment of hope. Each and every day, those of us who are with them on their educational journey are committed to doing all we can to keep them safe and to help them learn how to be responsible, respectful, well-informed citizens of the world. In our Monday assembly I expressed my confidence directly that they will become such citizens and that, over time, they will live out the core aspiration of TJ’s mission: “to lift up the world with beauty and intellect.”
Elizabeth Holekamp, Ph.D.