From the desk of Stewart Bromberg
There is a lot of planning going on in our community. The Springfield JCC has started setting up their summer camp office and soon there will be many children running through the building, swimming in the pool, and participating in many outdoor activities. This is when I feel ‘Community’ is at its best in this facility.
We have a couple of big initiatives kicking off over the next few weeks. As we have mentioned, we are beginning to launch our Community Demographic Study, designed to help us work on planning for the future by using information which reflects where are community is, and where our community members would like to see us grow.
It is nearly impossible to watch the news or pick up a newspaper without being overwhelmed by the trend of increasing hate crimes throughout the world and in our local communities; a problem which extends beyond anti-Semitism. A legal definition of hate crime states: a crime that violates the victim’s civil rights and that is motivated by hostility to the victim’s race, religion, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.
Next week, over thirty leaders from our community will join together as the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts convenes the first meeting of a local Hate Crime task force for our communities. As we build a pilot program, our goal is to develop a curriculum which will include anti-bias training programs designed to focus on the importance of living together in an inclusive environment that fosters respect for all.
Some of the participants in this task force have already created great materials which we hope to integrate into our programs. Both ADL and NCCJ have agreed to be involved in this project, as well as community Mayors, Law Enforcement officials, the Hampden District Attorney’s office, and school superintendents and other leaders from our communities. We hope to work on this project over the summer and early fall and disseminate the program to area school systems. Our aim is to help our children understand the importance of living together in our communities, and how we can have an impact on future relationships everywhere. I will keep everyone updated on our progress.
Wishing you a restful weekend and Shabbat Shalom,