It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to you this evening.
Over the weekend, with increasing shock and disbelief we have witnessed the outbreak of war in Israel. This fast-moving situation is still developing and we hold in our hearts and in our prayers the newly bereaved, those whose family members are missing or being held hostage and those whose family members have been called up and are serving in the IDF. Today every one of us feels the pain and the suffering of our people in Israel and around the world.
We are very conscious that many members of our school community are deeply and personally affected by the ongoing events and we will be doing everything that we can to implement appropriate support strategies for staff and students at school. We will ensure that opportunities are created in school for everyone to catch up on the latest news as well as making sure that those who need personal support are well looked after. We will have a dedicated space in school, supervised by members of our JE, IJE and Ivrit departments, so that all staff and students can talk to someone throughout the day but especially at break and lunch times. We will be working with all staff to ensure they are equipped to support and help students in form times, in lessons and throughout the school day. Mrs Barth has prepared a special JCAST to be shared with all students on Monday morning in form time which focuses on our hopes and prayers for peace. The entire JCoSS community will remain caring, sensitive and vigilant to each other’s needs. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel at this challenging time.
Safety and security are obviously of paramount importance. I have today received correspondence from Marc Cash (Barnet Neighbourhoods Inspector) who says:
“We are working in partnership with the Community Security Trust and the London Borough of Barnet to ensure that our community within the Synagogues, schools and wider community feel safe. We will be increasing our patrols across Barnet, Brent and Harrow as part of our tri-borough response to the developments abroad over the weekend. This is part of a reassurance plan. We remain in contact with partners and community leaders to listen to any concerns.”
At JCoSS there will be heightened vigilance, an increase in the numbers of our own school security team and also enhanced security checks at entry points into the school. We will be in close contact with the CST as is always the case, and these extra measures will remain in place for as long as is necessary. May I also take this opportunity to remind parents that students must have their ID and coach pass with them at all times, so that they can be produced on request, thank you.
It is our intention to proactively support our students, families and the entire JCoSS community during these difficult times, and I thank you for your support – it is valued and vital.
We hope and pray for a speedy conclusion to these terrible events and remember at this time the vision of the prophet Isaiah ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor train any more for war.’
Kind regards and hoping for better days ahead
Dr Melanie Lee