Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Friends...

This week has been a difficult one for us all, as we are still coming to terms with the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Below, in my piece on the parsha, I address some of the theological issues that such a horrific event can raise.  In the yeshiva we devoted time on Monday and Tuesday to discuss these events, and our moral and religious responsibility to do everything in our power to help shape a society in which such events - now, sadly, no longer rare - can be prevented in the future.

Students here also wanted to know how to help children deal with distress and fear after the shooting. I provide you below with the links that I sent to them, which I hope will be helpful:

On a personal note, as many of you know, my two sons are on the autism spectrum, and when it started being reported that the shooter had been diagnosed with Asperger's, they were deeply distressed.  "What will people think of us now?" my son Nethanel wanted to know.  Thankfully, there has been much in the press to correct the impression that had been given - that there is some link between emotional-social disorders and violence, or that such disorders are the same as mental illness.  Study after study have shown that there is no link between violence and social-emotional disorders.  If anything, such children are more likely to be victims than victimizers.  I would strongly urge you to become more informed about this matter so that we can make sure that those that are most vulnerable and most need our help do not become the collateral damage of this violence.  Here are some excellent articles on this that have been written this week:

What the media did wrong:

No connection between Autism and violence:

Let us pray to see a time and work to create a society which does everything in its power to protect the innocent from any harm, physical and emotional, and that we know only of peace and security.

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