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Akiba Atmosphere Updates 6/5/20

Dear Parents and Staff,  Somehow this week has left me wishing for a time when Murder Hornets were our biggest concern. Monday morning I went to Niles Northshore Urgent Care to get a COVID test because I was showing symptoms and due to my wife's contact with COVID patients in her role as a respiratory therapist. On Tuesday I thankfully found out I just had a cold. On Wednesday I said goodbye to our family dog, Gus Pickles, of nearly seventeen years and later that same day attended a Zoom funeral for a classmate of mine from High School. All of this has drained me emotionally from a well I thought was empty weeks ago and all within a week when a more destructive virus reared its ugly head again.  The world is suffering right now. From COVID of course, but also because the virus of prejudice and hate that infects too many became apparent once again with the murder of George Floyd.  When I was in graduate school I took a course called multiculturalism. One day we were discussing minority group experiences and I talked about being Jewish. I was challenged about my experience by a fellow student who said I could take "that thing" off my head, referring to my Kippah, and look like any other White person. I defended my experience, explaining how I don't take off my Kippah, threw in some personal minor anti-semitic incidents and got her to back off. In that moment I remember feeling outraged that she would minimize my experience and the challenges that occasionally came with it.  I have thought of that interaction many times over the years, always with a sense of pride that I defended my Jewish identity. Unfortunately, that perspective has kept me from realizing something I wish I had realized in that moment. She was right. Sure I am proud to be Jewish and it is a fully integrated part of my being, but make no mistake I could take "that thing" off my head and no one would be the wiser. Black people don't have anything to take off, and while I would like to live in a world where the color of one's skins is irrelevant, this is not the world we currently live in. The choice I have is a privilege and one I do not take for granted. However, it is what I do with that choice that really matters.  On Monday, our students were invited to a Zoom call after school if they had questions, thoughts or just wanted a safe place to be silent. To be honest, I can hardly remember what questions were asked or what words were shared. It has been a foggy week of pain. However, what I will never forget is they chose to show up. I don't want to suggest I know the answers on how to continue to fight hate, but I know even asking the question is an important first step. If you have a choice to make a difference do not take that choice for granted. If you have the ability to effect change, do not let it go to waste. Our students always inspire me by choosing to be present in the world and not taking their ability to make a difference for granted. This is why my well is not dry yet. It is filled with the tears of pride I have for our tremendous children who are in our school.  There is only one update to the Akiba Atmosphere site this week. An update I wish was not needed, but hopeful will be used to continue to stand for justice and humanity. Please click here to go to our Family Resources page for links on Race, Bias and talking to our children about George Floyd. They will be at the start of the page. Thank you to Cindy Friedman who compiled these resources and wish you a Shabbat of peace, reflection and love. Sincerely, 

Dr. Eliezer Jones                Head of School  

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Summer 2020 Update #3

Dear Parents, We hope you and your family are continuing to find ways to enjoy this summer and stay healthy. Please make a note of these updates and don't hesitate to reach out to us. Required Schoo

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Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School is affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs, the Board of Jewish Education of Chicago, and is a beneficiary of the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund of Chicago. Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community.