The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The right words are important

On the morning of Oct. 7, the world woke with the news of the attacks on the state of Israel and its people. The previous night, the country of Israel was met with missiles, kidnappings and murders by the terrorist group Hamas, an organization whose primary goal is the execution of the Jewish people.

The conflict in the Middle East has been a continuous issue for centuries as Israelis and Palestinians alike have both suffered from severe bloodshed. However, the current issue is not a question of whether or not Isrealis or Palestinians own the land. The current issue is an act of terror and the leaders of our community should discuss it as such.

Superintendent Dr. Raymond González sent out an email to the Westfield Community addressing the conflict on Oct. 11. The email, containing no mention of either country or the violence going on was not received well by many in the community.

The message communicated through this email was both insensitive to all people affected by the tragedy and a clear representation of the administration’s position when responding to any acts of hate.

In response to Dr. González’s email, the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Ethan Prosnit, sent a public response to Dr. González and the Westfield public school system. Rabbi Prosnit stated that as a Jew and an integral member of the Westfield Jewish community, he viewed the statement as “generic and could have been sent out after any other horrifying event in our world.”

He gave suggestions on how Dr. González could have improved his statement, noting, “Our community leaders must be clear in their language. What happened in Israel is terrorism.”

Rabbi Tilman of Congregation Beth Israel expressed a similar concern. He asked González to more clearly condemn the actions of Hamas. Tilman specifically stated that González failed to recognize that the terrorist group has “proudly and publicly executed over 1,200 Israeli citizens including women and children.”

As Jewish members of the Westfield community, we share the opinion of both Rabbis that our administration has a responsibility to clearly state their position on the horrific acts of Hamas. In situations such as these, to be silent is to be complicit.

The Hi’s Eye staff reached out to Dr. González following his statement. When asked for further comment on the issue, he said, “The attack on Israel was reprehensible. We grieve for the many innocent victims of this war and stand ready to help students, staff and families in our school community who may be affected.”

This response begs the question: Why was this not said to the entire Westfield community in the first place? A response like this one, which addresses the innocent victims more clearly, is one that the entire community deserves to hear.

Although many prominent leaders in our community and society as a whole have failed to explicitly condemn the actions of Hamas, there are ways that we can pick up their pieces. Encouraging teachers to bring up current events in class, be present in discussions or simply reaching out to a Jewish friend and offering your support can make all the difference.

If you would like to aid the innocent victims of this crisis, see below for a list of resources to make this possible:

Temple Emanu-El Emergency Fund for Israel:

“In response to this escalating crisis, the Temple Emanu-El Board of Trustees has initiated an Emergency Appeal to Support Israel, which will be administered by the Philanthropic Fund. 100% of your donation will help fund organizations on the ground providing immediate relief where it is most needed”

Friends of the IDF

“We are grieving the widespread suffering and death stemming from the eruption of full-scale war in Israel and Gaza. We are calling for all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of civilians and medical facilities.” 

Doctors Without Borders

“Friends of the IDF is the sole organization authorized to collect charitable donations on behalf of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces across the United States of America.” 


“Our immediate assistance will come in the form of sustenance, supplies, medical, construction, pets, baby/female products, hydration, children’s entertainment and anything else needed for preserving life and providing aid.”

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  • M

    MiriamOct 20, 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Amazing well written article! Thank you!!

  • W

    Wendy SteinbergOct 20, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    Beautifully written. So proud to not only know you but to love you Brooke.
    Both of you are amazing and brave girls for writing this extremely important letter. The Westfield community are very lucky to have your voices speaking up and taking a stand.