On January 14, 1963, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel befriended Dr. Martin Luther King at a conference on “Race and Religion”. Two years later, Heschel marched alongside King at the Civil Rights March in Selma, Alabama. At the time, Heschel wrote that it was easier for the Children of Israel to cross the Red Sea than it was for Black students to walk unhindered across an American college campus. Tragically, events of the past few weeks remind us how the reality of racism continues to deeply affect the lives of people whose skin happens to be a different colour. It casts fear over the simplest acts of going for a jog or taking a walk in the park. Heschel wrote that to judge a person “in terms of white, black, or yellow,” is an “eye disease;” “the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason, the maximum of cruelty for a minimum of thinking.”
Rooted in Jewish teachings and the moral activism of Rabbi Heschel, our school opposes racism and discrimination in any and all of its forms. This week, let us stand in solidarity with all those who resist the unreflective thinking of racism. Let us stand in solidarity with those who promote mutual understanding and empathy. Let us teach our children to see human beings as unique, precious individuals, created in God’s image.
Here are some teaching resources, some of which are part of our Heschel curriculum, that you can share with your children: