“The Path of Peace”: Response to the Shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue

 

The following letter was sent on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, to current parents, faculty, and trustees of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s.


“It is a tree of life to all who grasp it, and whoever holds on to it is happy; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” 
- Proverbs 3:17-18

Dear Parents and Faculty,

I write to you today in grief regarding yesterday's shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. I know that each of you joins me in my prayers for the victims, for the Tree of Life congregation, and for Jewish people throughout the country and the world. This is a dark moment that reminds us of the importance of choosing a path of peace. As a community, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s chooses the path of peace and life. For those of you in mourning today, I offer my deepest sympathy on behalf of our entire community. We share your grief.

This act of violence is a violation of our humanity and all the values that we cherish. As an Episcopal school, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s embraces the expression of all faiths and the sacredness of all creation. The murder of Jewish people at worship is an appalling reminder of the terrible crimes that have been committed against Jewish people throughout history. As a community, we reject this hatred and violence, and we endeavor anew to do all that we can to combat anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds.

Tomorrow in Chapel, the upper division will pray for the victims of this shooting and for Jewish people throughout the world. In the lower division, we will not address the shooting directly, but we will continue our discussion of the question, “Who is our neighbor?” reminding students that people of all religious faiths, and those who do not practice a faith, are part of our human family and are worthy of our respect and love.

This topic and these themes are embedded in our religious knowledge curriculum and Chapel program in both concrete and oblique ways. Please contact us if you would like to know more or if you would like any specific guidance regarding how to address these issues with your children. Additionally, please be assured that the safety of all who learn and work at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s remains the highest priority.

Sincerely,

Virginia Connor, Head of School

The Rev. Dr. Arden Strasser, Chaplain

Hope Fried, Religious Knowledge Teacher