Statement of Belonging

Students graduate with exceptional qualities that set them up for success

  • Achieve their personal academic potential, are critical thinkers and effective problem solvers
  • Are equipped to live and thrive in an increasingly globally connected and technological world
  • Become lifelong learners
  • Are well rounded and develop their leadership and creative capabilities
  • Understand progressive Jewish practices and perspectives and are able to make informed Jewish choices
  • Have a deep and meaningful connection to Judaism, the State of Israel and the worldwide Jewish community
  • Have the skills to be practicing liberal Jews at home, school and synagogue
  • Are knowledgeable and comfortable with Jewish prayer and participate with spirit and commitment
  • Eagerly embrace their responsibility to participate in acts of Tzedakah, Tikkun Olam and other personal mitzvot
  • Are educated through a caring, compassionate and supportive community
  • Have a positive self-image that enables them to grow emotionally, intellectually and socially and make good choices
  • Promote a culture of Derech Eretz, including the importance of self respect and respect for others
  • Understand the value of Tikkun Olam, social conscience, and how to contribute to positive social change

As an International Baccalaureate and Reform Jewish day school, the core mission of The Leo Baeck Day School is exemplified in students and staff deepening their understanding of the experiences of others and turning study into action.

We are committed to creating a culture of belonging, a community that embraces diversity and aspires to be an equitable and inclusive space for all of our stakeholders: students and alumni, staff and teachers, families, and donors. This focus for our school extends to policies, practices and programs, all of which contribute to being part of a kehilah kedoshah קהילה קדושה – a welcoming, supportive and sacred community that both embraces differences and fosters genuine respect.

Inclusion is about creating a safe learning community where differences are valued, embraced and celebrated.
Diversity is about the unique characteristics that we all possess. We accept that diversity is around us in many forms – sometimes visible, sometimes not. There are a multitude of diverse identities within the larger Jewish community.
Equity is about promoting fairness and justice for all. As a Jewish day school, we teach students about the systemic barriers that our ancestors have faced throughout history. Equity is about giving people what they need to succeed, recognizing that everyone has unique needs.

Creating and sustaining an inclusive culture requires self-reflection and an openness to learning, both within our community, and from the diverse communities around us. It further requires an openness and dedication to implementing change that works to achieve that goal. Listening to and reflecting on the voices of those who may experience barriers to inclusion helps us to develop empathy and recognize that every human being is created in God’s image – b’tzelem elohim בצלם אלוהים.

Based on the core principles of Reform Judaism, actions taken to implement this statement will be done in considered consultation with other Jewish day schools and CAIS schools, and leading practices in education.

Read Eric Petersiel’s post on our blog, “Announcing our Statement of Belonging”.

Have Questions?

The Leo Baeck Day School is a Reform Jewish day school that welcomes a range of Jewish practices and cultural backgrounds,  diversity in family life, including single parent families and  LGBTQ+ families, students with a variety of learning needs and staff members who bring unique and diverse perspectives to our classrooms.  Ensuring a strong sense of belonging for everyone in both our school community as well as our global community  is core to our school’s mission and vision. 

The statement aims to establish clear definitions and an understanding of our commitment to belonging. It was also crafted to define our aspirational state – the school we want to be – where everyone is welcome, celebrated and can thrive. We must share this publicly to send an unmistakable message about our commitment and hold ourselves accountable to deliver on our stated goals.  

The statement benefits everyone. It establishes a position for the school around critically essential topics in today’s society – diversity, equity and inclusion. This statement will help to ensure that students can be themselves and develop an appreciation and respect for differences of all kinds. It will help families by ensuring a learning environment where all students feel accepted, valued, respected, included and supported, leading to more engagement and motivation and  creating opportunities for engaged discussions at home. And it will benefit staff and teachers by creating an environment that embraces their unique contributions to the school.

Partly, but not completely. The statement is aspirational – a vision of what we want The Leo Baeck Day School to be. It will act as our “north star” to guide us toward inclusion and equity.

The potential for feelings of  exclusion is always present. The statement was not created as a reaction to a particular situation. It was created to proactively ensure the school can deal with situations as they arise. There is always a chance that a student or staff member does not feel like they belong. We believe that proactive action is required to address situations of exclusion and that inclusion will not happen on its own. The statement itself will not alleviate feelings of exclusion. It will act as a guide to help address feelings of exclusion as they arise.

No. This statement does not change our mission or vision. We remain steadfast in providing a nurturing and inclusive Reform Jewish day school, providing International Baccalaureate academics paired with a modern approach to Judaism. While we always want to support our students on their academic journey however we can, we acknowledge that some circumstances are better suited toward other academic institutions. We also recognize that some students have specific educational needs that we are not equipped to support.

The statement becomes a lens through which decisions are made by the Head of School (HoS) and Administration. As part of the decision-making process, the HoS and Administration will consider the impact on diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure that everything we do is working toward (and not counter to) our goal of a culture of belonging for everyone.

Publishing the statement is step 1 in our journey and step 2 has already begun in which we will identify the roadmap through which we hope to achieve an increased sense of inclusivity in our school. Over the course of this year, that will include determining the appropriate measures by which we will assess our success in this area.

The school’s Code of Conduct was carefully crafted to ensure all our constituents are responsible towards achieving a respectful and safe environment and that code was crafted to include not just the responsibilities of the student, but also of our staff and families. We can only create a safe and inclusive environment if all members of our community are held to the highest standard.

Disagreements about the definitions, beliefs and ways to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion is natural. These matters are very personal for many and can inspire strong emotions. Where conflicting views arise, we will engage in a respectful discussion to explore all parties’ concerns. The statement itself will be our guide. Our statement of belonging does not seek to silence conflicting views. It establishes a position from which to have a conversation where everyone’s opinion is appreciated and heard. The key to such a dialogue is that it is done respectfully. Where resolution is not possible, the statement will guide us to determine an outcome.

This statement begins to establish expectations for staff and teachers at The Leo Baeck Day School around diversity, equity and inclusion. It is not the end but the beginning of a conversation and journey. Using the statement as a guide, we will now work to ensure our policies and processes are inclusive and equitable and that everyone at the school understands what is expected of them regarding the culture of belonging we aspire to provide.

A “kehillah kedoshah” (translated as “holy community”) is a term that describes Jewish settings – like synagogues, summer camps and schools –  wherein every member feels as though they are a necessary and valued part of the whole.  At Leo Baeck, we build this sense of holy community by gathering together for Jewish study and celebration with an emphasis on shared, common rituals (e.g. Kabbalat Shabbat, Passover model seders) as well as diverse approaches to Jewish practice and belief.   We respect and validate  each individual’s and family’s unique expression and connection to Jewish life, fostering the curiosity, creativity and open-mindedness that are all hallmarks of a progressive Jewish education.


Commonly Asked Questions

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Dive Deeper

Find out more about different elements of our school community

Strategic Plan
Our goals for the 2022-2027 school years
International Baccalaureate
IB - our unique offering
Our Staff
A professional team for students of all abilities
Celebrate 50 years
Offering a Reform Jewish education since 1974

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