Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jewish Community Letter Against School Closings

March 2013 / Passover 5773
“Rabbi Eliezer the son of Shamua would say: The dignity of your student should be as precious to you as your own.”
Pirkei Avot 4:12
Dear Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett,
As members of the Jewish community and as Chicago residents, we are deeply concerned about the threatened closing of over 50 public schools in Chicago. Rather than invest resources to improve our struggling schools, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is proposing to shut down an unprecedented number of them. Public opposition to the closings has been overwhelming, and with good reason. CPS questionably claims the schools are “under-utilized”; meanwhile, it has contracted for dozens of new charter schools to be built instead. Of particular concern is that CPS plans to disproportionately close schools in low-income communities and communities of color - neighborhoods already underserved by the City. This continues a pattern of educational inequity: since 2001, over 80 percent of schools affected by CPS closure or “turn-around” plans have been comprised of over 99 percent students of color. And past school closings have had disastrous consequences, severely disrupting students’ education, spiking violence, and removing institutions that were stabilizing forces in their communities.
This is why we stand in solidarity with the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), students and teachers to demand loudly and clearly: NO SCHOOL CLOSINGS!
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
Rabbi Daniel Grossman, Congregation Adath Israel
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Rabbi David Cooper
Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann
Rabbi Dov Taylor
Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay
Rabbi Menachem Cohen, Mitziut
Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace
Cantor Michael Davis
Leora Abelson, Rabbinical Student
Jessica Rosenberg, Rabbinical Student
Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein, Rabbinical Student
Hannah Spiro, Rabbinical Student
Jewish Solidarity and Action for Schools (JSAS)
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
The Gan Project
Miriam Grossman, JSAS
Liz London, JSAS
Jeremy Siegman, JSAS
Lev Hirschhorn, JSAS
Wendy Mironov, JSAS
Marilyn Sneiderman
Ross Hyman
Adam Yalowitz
Amy B. Dean, The Century Foundation & ABD Ventures
Pamela Klier-Weidner
Daniel Kaplan
Hannah Chazin
Rachel Sumekh, Swipes for the Homeless
Scout Bratt
Abigail Weber
Allison Fisher, JSAS
Hannah Gelder, Avodah Alumna
Sarah Moskowitz
Eleanor Mulshine, Moishe House
Sarah Miles, JSAS/Moishe House
Amir Starr Weg
Jill Zenoff, The Gan Project
Martin Levine, Levine Partners Consulting
Stefanie Fox, JVP
Hasan Bhatti, AVID Chapel Hill
Yaniv Ron-El, University of Chicago
Laura Landau
Eleni Zimiles
Leila Shooshani, Moishe House Chicago
Haley Leibovitz, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps
Jessica Schaffe, Jewish Child & Family Services
Mk Davis
Kelly Viselman, JSAS
Daniel Weyl
Elise Goldin, JRC
Shana Rubenstein, JSAS
Raphi Rechitsky
Elana Baurer, Georgetown University Law Center
Dani Baurer, Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps
Max Clemons
Sarah Richman
Erin Dubnow
Orli Ginsburg, Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.)
Elie Zwiebel, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
Aaron Simmons, AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
Traci Schlesinger
Simon Fisher, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eli Goldberg
Asher Miller, JRC
Ross David Jacobs, CIWC
Emma Schwartz
Staci Akselrod
Emily Feder
Adam Reisberg
Rachel Brustein
Lily Gordon-Koven
Rebecca Katz
Talia Stein
Annie Greene
Simon Swartzman
Matthew Ginsberg-Jaeckle
Martin Ritter, CTU
Francine Greenberg-Reizen
Yasmin Salmi
Michael Klonsky
David, CPS
Diane Horwitz, Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education
Katherine Kampf, Respect Children's Rights
Robin Koloms
Sara Abelson
Tammie Vinson, CTU
Miriam Socoloff
Michael Presser
Sylvia Margolin, KAM Isaiah Israel
Bill Dolnick
Carol Goldbaum, Congregation Or Chadash
Paula Baronn
Don Rose, Don Rose Communications
Marlene Slavitt, CTU Retiree Delegate
Abby Rosenstein
Pauline Lipman
Dan Newman
Rico Gutstein, Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago)
Myron Perlman
Sherrie Tillmon
Arlene Gloria Hirsch, CTU
Steve Bild
Sandra Cruz
Craig Seip
Liane Casten, CAPOW--Citizens Act to Protect Our Water
Leo Gorenstein
Victoria M. Jackson, CPS
Tina and Joab Oberlander, Am Yisrael Congregation
Phillip Cantor, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
Frank Rawland
Summer Hale
Kate S Goldstein, Americorps Alum
Elena Solomon

Note: Organizations listed after names are for the purposes of identification only.


  1. Thank you for sending this letter. The closings are breathtaking in their scope of destruction.

  2. RE: the sidebar on Trumbull School article in the Sun Times--heartbreaking. The pictures show a beautiful building. The auditorium is gorgeous. The computer lab looks great. The neighborhood is nice. Too good for special education students, certainly.
    Can you say, "Charter school?"


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