Dear Temple B'nai Chaim Family,

I am heartsick to have to share with you that today there was another antisemitic incident at Middlebrook Middle School.  This afternoon, a student found a post-it note on her locker that read, "Jews will burn."  The school immediately reacted, assembling students for meetings with Principal Feltz and Dr. Smith where both administrators denounced this hateful behavior and called on all students to be upstanders and role models.  

I learned about today's incident shortly before Hebrew School began this afternoon.  Immediately after hanging up the phone, I walked out to the street to wait for the bus from Middlebrook.  After our students from Wilton arrived, we gathered in a classroom so that they could share how they were feeling.  As I listened to our students, I was proud of their maturity and sensitivity.

I want to share with you what I said during this conversation in case you are searching for what to say to your families this evening.  

I first asked each of our students to share how they had experienced today's events.  I then asked them how they had felt while they were in school and how they were feeling now that they were at Temple.  I made sure that each of them understood that they should not feel responsible for answering classmates' questions about what had happened or how they were feeling.  We practiced politely but firmly rebuffing any inquiries that made them uncomfortable.   I emphasized to them that they are not responsible for fixing this situation.  I assured them that the adults of our local community would stand for and with them.  

I know that some of you are wondering what happens next.  I want to make sure that you know that I will be attending tomorrow morning's parent meeting at Middlebrook.  Tomorrow afternoon, I will be meeting with Wilton's Interfaith Clergy Association and First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice.  These are just the first of multiple meetings that will occur over the next days and weeks.  

I also want to invite anyone in our congregation who would like to talk about these recent incidents to join me at TBC this Sunday from 9:40-10:40am.  There is no agenda for this gathering other than being able to speak and share with one another.

If you would like to talk before or after Sunday, please reach out to me.

Chazak.  Chazak.  V'nitchazek.  Be strong.  Be strong.  And, let us strengthen one another.

Rabbi Rachel Bearman