From the Corridors of the Religious School

Cantor-Educator Elena Schwartz

Our Religious School curriculum this year is focused on the link between our students’ development as emerging Jewish adults, their ethical behavior (middot), and the performance of acts of g’milut chasadim. One aspect of our curriculum that we are currently looking at is the issue of bullying and the Jewish values that can help us understand and respond to bullying.

Like our public schools and camps, we are concerned about the prevalence of bullying behavior in our community. Bullying can be defined as conscious and repeated hostile behavior intended to harm others. Bullying includes a wide variety of behaviors, but all of them involve a person or a group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable. Although bullying can take different forms (physical, social, verbal, etc.), all acts of bullying are emotionally harmful and hurtful. We are working hard to create a culture where bullying is recognized, acknowledged, and addressed.

Our school has always embraced the teaching of Jewish values such as:

lo taamod al dam rei-echa                       Not standing idly by.
l’shon hara                                             Not gossiping.
hachnasat orchim                                   Welcoming the stranger.
v’ahavta l’rei-acha kamocha                    Loving your neighbor.
emet                                                     Truthfulness.
lo l’vayeish                                            Not embarrassing.
oheiv zeh et zeh/m’chab’eid zeh et zeh    Loving and honoring others.
sh’lom bayit                                          Peace in the home/family.

Because bullying contradicts these values, we are working with our students to help them understand the consequences of bullying and to develop a Jewish Code of Anti-Bullying Behaviors for their classroom. 

There are things that parents can do at home to help support this initiative: speak with your children about bullying, provide your child with strategies for dealing with bullying behavior at school, and be prepared and work with us if you get a call from us informing you that your child has been involved in a bullying incident as a bully, a target, or a bystander. 

Cantor-Educator Elena Schwartz

Make My Sinai Your Sinai