COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – While many are still trying to process what’s unfolding in the Middle East, art can be used as an outlet to express those feelings. Students at Columbus Jewish Day School (CJDS) are doing just that.
The students wanted to create something that can be viewed as an inspiration to not just the school but the community as well.
“Everybody here decided that they would have students, teachers, faculty members add their handprints to stand with Israel,” said Debbie McMunn, art teacher at CJDS.
The mural reads, “CJDS stands with Israel” and “Praying for peace and hope.” However, it contains a lot of different elements.
“They kind of led with love and caring for others, so hearts, we’re always kind of talking about symbolism. We want peace throughout the world so they decorated peace signs,” McMunn said.
The big question Jewish Schools are facing is how to talk with students about what’s happening, while remaining age appropriate.
“Our goal was to ensure that routine would be maintained that we would obviously be in an environment in which these kids would be aware of what was happening,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, Interim head of Columbus Jewish Day School.
Routine, consistency and messaging is key and this year’s theme is “What a Wonderful World.” The school said it’s very careful about not showing any imagery or language that may be too much for a child to handle.
“We have many teachers here who have family or who are from Israel and one of the things that has been unbelievably impressive is the ability of our faculty to focus completely on their job,” said Rabbi Allen.
And while they may not be able to control what kids hear and see outside of the school, “inside of school we can have a message that is consistent, that is positive even in the face of tragedy and that allows us in an age appropriate manner to ensure that our children can grapple with a world that is not always pleasant,” said Rabbi Allen.
Understandably, students have been asking questions about the conflict.
“First graders might ask ‘did anyone know anybody?’ to a child who is from Israel or whose family is from Israel. All the way up to ‘why would someone do this?,” said Rabbi Allen.
At the end of the day, CJDS wants students to know that life is constantly a challenge between making right and wrong choices but that ultimately, good will prevail.