How is a student able to learn without feeling secure in his or her own community? The primary priority for every school’s environment is safety. There are tragedies occurring nationwide, and the constant catastrophes have made desensitized to the horrible disasters. Jewish children in France are harassed on the streets on their way to school, adults in Venezuela are scarcely able to provide for their family by going to the supermarket due to the inevitable fear of being kidnapped or robbed. Living in conditions like these is not living living – it is surviving.
The Scheck Hillel community opens their arms to those victims who have nowhere else to flee; security and supervision is enforced throughout the campus, to ensure the ultimate safety. Dr. Hana Barouk, a teacher at Hillel, opens up about the anti-semitism she experienced in her youth. “Growing up, there was a lot of anti-semitism [in France], especially in the suburb I was living in at the time. It was very common for people to call me a “dirty-Jew” on my way to school. I grew up in a strong, united Jewish community, although we grew up in fear. We didn’t know how it was like to live without anti-semitism. We had to be careful wherever we went. Our outings were restricted, but it was normal for us. We didn’t grow up with love from our neighbors, and as a community, we just learned to rely on each other, to help each other, and to watch out for one another. We remained strong, but we felt we had no voice, as nothing was being done to stop the hate, no matter how many police reports we filed. I couldn’t stand it anymore, so as soon as I graduated from high school, I went to study in Canada.” Dr. Barouk was fortunate enough to be accepted in a different country, and eventually, she found herself living in Miami with much tranquility and happiness. The pain exposed to those growing up in hazardous communities must come to an end, and it is the world’s responsibility to make a difference. Scheck Hillel has taken it upon themselves to make a difference. Jewish individuals and families have migrated from all over the world, and the community as a whole has strived to receive the new students or families with love and warmth.
Although it may be seen as a hassle at times, security in Hillel is tight and for good reason. No one on the campus deals with the anxiety of, “What if..” There is no need to fear strangers or intruders, because the security is dedicated to the protection of every individual that steps foot on school grounds. Students acknowledge and appreciate the gift of protection. Alexa Cohen, an 11th grade student at Scheck Hillel, confidently states, “There aren’t many places that feel safer than school. Walking through campus, I feel utterly comfortable being alone. The security is constantly monitoring school, and there is a crucial process to keep the community safe.” The protocols are being taken to maintain a guarded environment. The privilege of safety should be treasured immensely, and Scheck Hillel has embraced it to be a priority.