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A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA
A Dynamic Jewish Early Childhood Center Serving Children Ages 6 Weeks to Entering Pre-K
A Jewish Day School serving students in Grades TK-6
A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA

Happy New Year!

01/09/2020 11:16:02 AM


Shara Peters

Dear Parents, 


Many of us were here at dismissal on the Friday afternoon before winter break to experience our unexpected lockdown. I am happy to say that within the first 60 seconds, all children and adults who were on campus were silently hidden behind a locked door. Many parents got to experience a drill that, as a faculty, we are quite accustomed to carrying out. Within 20 minutes our security team swept the campus, was able to determine that there was indeed no threat to safety, and we cleared the call for a lockdown. 


First, I wanted to extend my gratitude to the parents, grandparents, babysitters, and friends who were on campus during this time. They looked to direction from the nearest Adat Ari El employees, and helped us all by modeling a calm demeanor to the children. 


I also spoke with a few parents in the aftermath of the lockdown about how to talk with their children about this topic. Because lockdowns are a new reality in our age, I thought that everyone might benefit from thinking about how to talk to your children about them. A general policy I have when talking with children about troubling events is the following: 

  • Only discuss it if they initiate the conversation. It is easy to accidentally share more information with your children than they are developmentally ready to process. 

  • Answer the questions they ask, and only the questions they ask. Usually, if they are old enough to ask the question, they are old enough for the answer.

  • Be honest, simple, and direct in your answers. Give as little information as possible to satisfy their concerns, and try to avoid over explanation whenever possible.  


This article by Judith Simon Prager, PhD, is something you might find helpful for some tips about discussing lockdowns with your children. I like the way in which they frame the idea of why we need these drills, and have included an excerpt here: 

You might say to a child, "Remember when you were younger and you'd run ahead of your mother or father to the corner. And they'd be slower to get there, so when you got there without them they'd shout 'Stop!' or 'Freeze!' and you'd have to wait for them, there at the corner, before going into the street. And you knew why. Because there were cars that you might not see, drivers who might not see you. And your parents wanted to keep you safe.

Well, sometimes there still might be dangers that you can't see that the grown-ups know about and so they tell you to 'stop!' and even hide, sometimes, and wait for them to say 'All Clear, you can come out now.' And it's good to practice that. "

Eric Nicastro, our Executive Director, sent an email earlier this week announcing some updates regarding security for 2020. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so. He points out some things that we as community members can do to help our campus be more secure. I have a couple of points to add:

  • Should you be on campus for a lockdown, whether due to a real threat, perceived threat, or a drill, avoid communication with those on the outside until the drill is over. You will not have a full picture of what is going on, and miscommunication can compromise our security.

  • Do not post any information about a lockdown, or any other specific security information for that matter, ever, on social media. It will not help us, and leads to a less secure and more chaotic communication structure.

  • We will communicate with you as regularly as we can to keep you apprised of what is happening on campus. Please do not call our offices during or immediately after the lockdown. We need our focus to be on the physical and emotional safety of our students and faculty. 


We often say that it takes a village to raise a child, and likewise, it takes a village to keep a community safe. Thank you all for your partnership with us as we strive for a physically and emotionally safe environment for our children. 


Warm regards,




Sun, March 29 2020 4 Nisan 5780