Inclusivity and Empathy

The past week has been filled with anguish for our community as we have watched protests and riots unfold in cities throughout North America. Affirmed by our Mission, Vision and Values, Paul Penna DJDS opposes racism and discrimination in all forms. We work diligently to ensure that messages of inclusivity and empathy are shared authentically and often with our students.  We strive to include resources in classroom teaching, Jewish rituals and school life that focus our attention on the importance of valuing differences between people and using our voice to stand up for what we believe is right and just in our world. 

As part of our teaching, we instill messages of empathy for all people and provide space for our faculty and students to speak their thoughts, learn through listening and engage in peaceful ways to speak up and out for what they believe to be important and true. 

This week, we have returned to resources that we have used in the past to remind our students about the importance of inclusivity and the existence of oppression and inequity in our world. We have engaged in meaningful discussions, read books with positive messages of appreciating differences, and have infused our prayer with words of hope for a better world and concern for those who are suffering. 

Below are some worthwhile resources that you can use at home to engage your child in meaningful conversation about race, inclusivity, diversity and standing up against injustice and racism. Many of these resources will be familiar to our students as they have been used in our curriculum. has also published an excellent document about talking to your child about race, which can be helpful in starting an important conversation in your home. 

Book lists – reading to your child and with your child about race and about the experience of different groups of people can help build empathy and increase knowledge about the experience of others. Below is a book list that can guide you towards books that have themes and messages to spark conversation with children of different ages.

Prayer Resources – adding a prayer into a morning, evening or Shabbat routine is a way to bring awareness to the issues of inequity and reinforce the strength of each individual voice to make a difference.  Below are two prayers that our students may be studying and using as part of their prayer in school this week.

As a cohesive school community, we continue to be guided by our values and will work together to make our world a better and safer place for all people. 

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Paul Penna Downtown
Jewish Day School
750 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2J2
(Located in the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre)


(416) 928-3537