Of Communal Concern

This past week, our broader Newton community was challenged when a teacher at the Underwood elementary school was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a minor and possession of child pornography.  News of such an arrest in our community is shocking.

When news of this situation first broke, Rabbi Gurvis, as the current chairperson of the Newton Clergy Association, reached out to Superintendent David Fleishman to express our support and willingness to be helpful.  And last night, I attended a Newton community-wide meeting, held by the school district, to discuss some of the concerns that this arrest raises for our school system and the environments in which our children spend the majority of their time.  I am encouraged by the care and sensitivity the school administrators, city officials, and police department are taking in this matter to care for the wellness of our children.

Wellness involves many things, including spiritual safety.  As we continue to learn more about this situation, please know that we are here to speak with you about this.  We support all of those struggling to make sense of this, all those dealing with the betrayal felt, all those facing fears or anxieties for ourselves and our children, all those who are confronting the issues raised by this horrible occurrence.  We hope that if you have concerns or want to talk, that you know we are available.  You can reach Rabbi Gurvis at egurvis@templeshalom.org, Rabbi Berry at aberry@templeshalom.org, or me at nhirsch@templeshalom.org.

Our tradition teaches that all in our community are responsible for one another.  Let us continue to support one another, making ourselves a safer, stronger, and more whole community.

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