News From Ramaz

US Students Send Stars of Hope to Parkland School Shooting Survivors
Posted 03/06/2018 10:35AM

נֹתֵן לַיָּעֵף כֹּחַ וּלְאֵין אוֹנִים עָצְמָה יַרְבֶּה /He gives power to the faint, and to the weak He gives strength (Isaiah 40:29)

In the wake of the brutal attack in Parkland, Florida, our students -- like so many throughout the nation -- were in shock, at first not knowing what they could do. And yet, they were determined to respond, to reach out to the bereaved families and to the students who attend Stoneman Douglas High School who were witness to the murder of 17 classmates and teachers.

On the morning that we returned from February break, at Tefilat Shacharit, Rabbi Albo presented the students with a difficult challenge. The Rabbi asked that they understand the adage, משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה / when Adar begins, joy increases, not as a passive description of the time period, but rather as a call to action! He encouraged students to find the "strangers and outcasts" within their world and invite them in. "Even someone who makes an effort to be an outcast, make sure that they actively know that you are there for them. No child should be so disconnected and abandoned by their school and environment to the point where they can commit such an atrocity," said the Rabbi.

The students then joined Rabbi Albo in reciting תהילים ק"ל, to pray for the recovery of the wounded, and by mid-morning, several projects were in motion. Thanks to the generosity of the Bengualid family, several boxes of "Stars of Hope" arrived by afternoon, and after school, with the support of Ms. Rabhan and Ms. Abramson, dozens of plain wooden stars were painted in the art room, with words of encouragement and support. Throughout the week, students and teachers wrote cards with personal expressions of consolation and support.

Students mailed the "Stars" together with their handwritten cards to Stoneman Douglas High School with the "Hope" that when the Parkland students return to school, their messages would help the healing process.

Students also spoke with Rabbi Shuey Biston, the Chabad Rabbi of Parkland, as he is in constant contact with all of the bereaved families, and several are members of his congregation. The Rabbi continues to guide students, offering realistic and meaningful ways to continue their support.

The US students are in the process of planning their participation, along with high school students across the country, in the National School Walkout for 17 minutes on March 14 at 10AM, to protest the violence plaguing schools and neighborhoods. Answering the call of HINENI is a fundamental value of Ramaz, inherent in the school's educational mission.

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