(Developed in part by KESHET, endorsed by University Synagogue VP Education)
University Synagogue believes in the power of community to create a sacred learning space. Our programs are deeply rooted in Jewish values and we refer to these values in much of what we do. Administrators, teachers, and family members share responsibility for modeling Jewish values.
- Teachers study the values below as part of staff development and are expected to commit to this policy in their terms of employment.
- School-wide programming, classroom lessons, and passive formats such as bulletin boards/newsletters/T’filah topics around these values, procedures, and policies will all be utilized to nurture a kind and respectful community.
We at the Religious School take seriously the success of each child and want to ensure all students feel comfortable and included in our programs. Our Hebrew program has been designed to meet the needs of different types of learners. If your child(ren) has special needs, please notify the Director so that we can work on a plan to best accommodate your child(ren).
Seven Jewish Values for an Inclusive Community
(Developed by KESHET)
Kavod: RESPECT - Judaism teaches us to treat ourselves and others with respect; even the stranger is to be treated with respect. Kavod is a feeling of regard for the rights, dignity, feelings, wishes, and abilities of others. Teasing and name-calling disrespect and hurt everyone, so learn to respect people’s differences.
Shalom Bayit: PEACE IN THE HOME - Our community centers, synagogues, youth groups, and camps are often our second homes. Everyone needs to feel comfortable, safe, welcome, and respected at home. Don’t ostracize those who seem different. Strive to settle disagreements in peaceful and respectful ways that allow all community members to maintain their dignity.
B’tzelem Elohim: IN GOD’S IMAGE - The Torah tells us that we are all created “b’tzelem Elohim” (Bereshit 1:26), in the image of God. This is a simple and profound idea that should guide our interactions with all people. We do not know the “image of God” except as it is reflected in the different types of people we encounter in the world. If we can remember that each of us, no matter how different, is created in God’s image, this idea can lead us to find the connection we have with one another and help create truly inclusive communities.
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh: COMMUNAL RESPONSIBILITY - The Jewish principle that “All Israel is responsible for one another” (Shavuot 39a) means that it is our responsibility to stand up for each other, especially for those who are vulnerable and cannot speak up for themselves.
Shmirat Halashon: GUARDING ONE’S USE OF LANGUAGE - The Talmud warns us that we must take care in how we use language. Talking about others behind their backs, even if what we are saying is true, is prohibited. The guidelines for “shmirat halashon” remind us that what we say about others affects them in ways we can never predict. Words can hurt or heal depending on how we use them.
V’ahavtah L’Reiecha Kamocha: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF - Commenting on Leviticus 19:18, Rabbi Hillel once stated that this was the foundational value of the Torah. It begins with loving ourselves. We must love and accept our whole selves, and in doing so create the capacity for extending that love and acceptance to others.
Al Tifrosh Min Hatsibur: SOLIDARITY - “Don’t separate yourself from the community” (Pirke Avot 2:5). When you feel different from others in your community, don’t isolate yourself. Find allies and supporters who you can talk to. If you know someone who is feeling isolated, reach out; be an ally and a friend.