Responding to the Crisis
In the months since the horrific events of October 7th, support for Israel and the Jewish People has been front of mind for the Hausner community. We do not stand by idly–but continue to engage in meaningful responses to the challenges that our community confronts.
Welcoming Israeli Students
Over the last few months, Hausner has welcomed 30 visiting Israeli students whose parents sought normalcy and safety for their children. While many have returned, we continue to enroll those who wish to remain, and to offer financial assistance to ensure that they can participate, regardless of means.
Our alumni have not only made us kvell with pride, but have demonstrated that a Jewish Day School education is a building block towards a proud Jewish Identity and a strong connection with Israel. Locally, Hausner alumni have spoken before various school districts, at city council meetings, and organized and spoke at gatherings in support of Israel at their high schools. One of our alumni students wrote a powerful essay published by the Times of Israel, and also spoke at the March for Israel in Washington DC.
Hausner’s educational program builds strong connections to Israel and cultivates the capacity to stand up for our communal values.
Among our many community initiatives:
- Eight of our 8th grade students, along with two staff chaperones, took a red-eye flight to the March for Israel in Washington DC, advocating for the return of hostages. Hausner was the only Bay Area Jewish Day school to send a delegation.
- Over 150 people commemorated MLK Day at Hausner by participating in Mitzvah Day projects co-sponsored by the OFJCC and Hausner. Families made stuffies for children from Kibbutz Kissufim, one of the Israeli communities attacked on October 7th.
- Parent Kesher, our parent organization, is sponsoring Project Ofakim to support the city’s STEM center. Ofakim is a city located in southern Israel that was attacked by terrorists on October 7th. Our students will write letters and create projects to send to their peers, and we will raise funds to purchase a new 3D Printer for them.
- Our 6th graders wrote personal letters to IDF soldiers, which were hand-delivered by a Hausner alumna and her parents on a recent solidarity trip.
- In early January, Hausner parents and staff gathered to sing together and share reflections on the current war in Israel and the recent rise of antisemitism. It was a cathartic experience in which adult members of our community could let down their guard and express feelings that are often difficult to share in the presence of children.
- In partnership with the Center for Israel Education, we are developing new Israel Studies resources.
- Hausner is piloting a new 8th grade project about the Israeli Supreme Court. Our students are learning about the Israeli Supreme Court together with students from the Wornick school, and our innovative mock Supreme Court experience will take place later in the Spring. We hope that this will become a Bay Area-wide initiative in future years and that we can share this model with other day schools.
- We partnered with Z3, a project of the OFJCC, to invite former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein to speak to our Upper school students.
- We have developed an exchange program with the Leo Baeck School in Haifa in which 8th graders from each school learn from and with each other as well as visit each others’ schools.
- Amichai Magen, the Visiting Fellow in Israel Studies at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and also a Hausner parent, spoke to our Upper Schoolers about the Israel-Hamas conflict. You can watch it here.
- We have added a page to our website listing ways to donate and support Israel in response to this crisis.
As Hausner continues to support Israel and our Jewish community during this challenging time, we would like to share Rabbi Danny Lehmann's reflection on the Book of Exodus. Even in difficult times, our Jewish tradition offers us a path toward hope.
"In January we began reading the Book of Exodus, Sefer Shemot, which describes a prolonged period of degradation that gives way to a profound political, spiritual and communal transformation. Exodus is a narrative of hope and calls upon us to envision the possibilities for positive change that can come precisely in the darkest of days.
Education at Hausner is built upon hope for a better future and cultivates the capacity of our students to construct communities and personal lives deeply committed to the possibility of transformative change propelled by Jewish wisdom and values."
-Rabbi Danny Lehmann
A PDF version of this post can be found here.