Statement on Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Social Justice
The very first chapter of the Torah states that the human soul was created in the image of the divine, and our rabbis taught that the human body was fashioned from material collected from all four corners of the earth. Thus, we are all spiritually and physically connected to one another and are all inherently valuable. This belief and its implications guide Kehillah Jewish High School’s commitment to create an inclusive learning environment where the diverse members of our community truly value themselves and others, evoking a communal sense of belonging.
We are committed to teaching students that believing in the interconnectedness and value of all human beings also compels us to work collectively towards equity and social justice. This involves building a society that appreciates and celebrates differences as well as a society that empathetically confronts the ways individuals, institutions, and systems have oppressed others based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and other aspects of identity. We believe that it is only by clearly understanding the past and the present of these dynamics that students will develop the capacity to help create a better future for all.
We acknowledge that this work is ongoing and ever-evolving.
“To be seen, heard, valued, and loved” ( Vidale 2020)
“The wide range of human characteristics used to mark or identify individual and group identities. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, race, national origin, age, personality, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion, ability, and linguistic preferences…Diversity of thought and ways of knowing, being, and doing are also understood as natural, valued, and desired states, the presence of which benefit organizations, workplaces, and society” (NAIS).
“Ensuring that people have what they need to participate in school life and reach their full potential. Equitable treatment involves eliminating barriers that prevent the full participation of all individuals. As a function of inclusion, equity ensures that essential educational programs, services, activities, and technologies are accessible to all. Equity is not equality; it is the expression of justice, ethics, multi-partiality, and the absence of discrimination” (NAIS).
“Taking every individual’s experience and identity into account and creating conditions where all feel accepted, safe, empowered, supported, and affirmed. An inclusive school or organization expands its sense of community to include all; cultivating belonging and giving all an equal voice. The sharing of power and recognition of interdependence, where authorizing individuals and community members share responsibility for expressing core values and maintaining respect for differences in the spirit of care and cooperation” (NAIS).
Social Justice – “Both a process and a goal. The goal of social justice is full and equal participation of all groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs. Social justice includes a vision of society in which the distribution of resources is equitable and all members are psychologically and physically safe and secure” (Bell 2013).