Members of the Curry College Community:
Over the course of this past week, we and the rest of the world have been witness to barbaric acts and an escalating war in the Middle East. Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization, brutally attacked Israel last weekend, murdering innocent civilians, including infants, and taking Israeli military and civilian hostages. These acts of terror and the war that has ensued have resulted in thousands of innocent civilians being killed and injured and hundreds of thousands of innocent people being displaced. The loss of life, destruction, devastation and humanitarian crisis in Israel and the Gaza Strip are human tragedies of an enormous scale that are hard to imagine, but for the heart-wrenching pictures and accounts from those experiencing the tragedies being live-streamed across the world.
It is hard for any of us to process human tragedy at this scale, and it affects each of us as fellow human beings. But the events of this past week have been particularly hard for those in the Curry community who are Jewish or Palestinian and those who have friends or family in or a connection to Israel, the Gaza Strip or the region directly affected. On behalf of the Curry community, I want to acknowledge their pain and let them know that we are here to support them through these incredibly challenging times.
Earlier this week, we had a Town Hall to bring together the members of the Curry community to hear from each other about what we love about the Curry community, what we can do better, and what we aspire to be as a community. I want to thank the 200 or so of you who attended in person or virtually and for all of you who contributed to the discussion. We discussed the war in the Middle East at the Town Hall and the need for us to be there to support those in our community most affected by the tragic events of this past week. We discussed the need for us to be a community that lifts each other up, supports and cares for one another, and listens to and hears one another. We talked about the value of diversity and diversity of opinion, and we talked about the importance of this being a community where everyone is valued and respected and feels they belong. A community where hate and bias are not welcome and will not be tolerated.
It takes all of us to work to uphold these values as a community. And, as we discussed, no community is perfect, and there will be individuals who act in a manner inconsistent with our values. That’s true of the broader community as well. As we discussed at the Town Hall, how we respond to those acts is critically important. We at Curry College can’t control the events taking place in the Middle East. But we can come together as a community to support and care for each other, particularly those directly affected by the tragic events of this past week. Let’s be mindful of the pain and suffering so many in our community are feeling, and let’s be there to help lift each other up.
We have an opportunity to literally come together as a community for a campus vigil to support our fellow community members who are grieving or upset on Monday afternoon at 12:30 in the Student Center Chapel. I want to thank our Director of Spiritual Life, Rev. Dr. Ian Mevorach, and our Coordinator for Jewish Life, Hannah Taylor, for organizing this vigil and for being available as supportive resources for members of our community through this challenging time. In addition, the Curry College Counseling Center is available for students and our employee assistance program is available for staff and faculty seeking extra support.
Thanks to all of you who have opened up to me this week to share your thoughts about the tragic events and how they have affected you personally. My thoughts are with each of you and with all in the Curry community affected by these events, and I am comforted to be among all of you during these challenging times.