Share with students a summary of what happened at Congregation Beth Israel of Colleyville, Texas, from a trusted news source. This Washington Post article provides a detailed account of the events. Either read the article together as a class or give students time to read it privately.
Allow time for students to name what stands out to them from this news story or in other news of this past weekend events and then to process and reflect, perhaps writing in their journals and then sharing some thoughts with a partner. You might use the following writing prompts:
- The synagogue attack in Colleyville, Texas, is disturbing and painful to learn about. It prompts us to ask many questions, some of which may not have an answer. What questions does this event raise for you? What feelings does it provoke?
- How do you see this event affecting people in your home, in your school, and in your community?
After students have had some time to write privately in their journals, have them read “It’s a Courageous Thing to Do.”
After students have had time to read this passage, you might ask them to share some of their thoughts using the Think, Pair, Share strategy. Or, if you do not think students are ready for sharing their thoughts verbally, you can ask them to add a comment about one or more questions to a graffiti board. Students can then volunteer to share thoughts and observations after reading through the variety of responses.
Acknowledge that these are heavy conversations about difficult topics and remind students that the individual and collective choices we make can move us toward creating a more compassionate and tolerant world. Bring closure to the conversation by reading the following quote by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:
I am proud to be part of a people who, though scarred and traumatised, never lost their humour or their faith, their ability to laugh at present troubles and still believe in ultimate redemption; who saw human history as a journey, and never stopped traveling and searching.