Last week’s open letter to the Colorado Jewish community from Radio Chavura co-host Dean Rotbart sparked intense reactions from readers. Indeed, it was the most read and forwarded issue of the Radio Chavura newsletter since we began in July 2012.
Those offering feedback included leading local rabbis, educators, and community leaders. We also heard from parents of current and former Jewish day school students, from students and alumni, and from area residents who have no current or previous ties to Colorado’s Jewish educational institutions.
The reactions varied greatly – both in support and condemnation of our open letter, with no consensus.
What follows is a representative sampling of the responses that Radio Chavura received. No one who emailed Radio Chavura specifically requested that their responses be kept anonymous or private. Nonetheless, we have chosen to withhold the names of respondents because each letter we publish below reflects – more or less – similar responses from other readers.
Email from a DAT High School Parent Who is the Wife of a Local Rabbi:
Dean Responds: I wouldn’t presume to speak for the entire, diverse Jewish community. I read nothing in my letter that I viewed as an “attack on the DAT administrators.” Nor do I see how you might interpret my letter as expressing “no concern for the larger community.” It falls to us, as parents of DAT students, to work to protect our children as our primary responsibility. Finally, let me say that while there is ample room here to debate the issues and the merits of my concerns, I know of nothing in our religious teachings that would justify your vitriolic personal attack on me and my character.
Email from One of Denver’s Most Respected and Beloved Congregational Rabbis:
Dean Responds: I snapped the picture of the two men that were used in last week’s letter. Based upon my observing them over the course of roughly one hour, I concluded that they were not innocent individuals who happened to be stationed the entire time in front of a women’s nail salon. What I witnessed appeared to me to be two men selling illegal drugs. I shared the photo and my concerns with the DAT High School administration strictly in that context. It was not the color of their skin that concerned me, but their highly suspicious behavior.
Email from Member of DAT High School Security Committee:
Dean Responds: The address of the DAT High School was published in the DAT Minyan newsletter in July 2014 and available subsequently for all to see on the Internet. Like the DAT Minyan newsletter, our newsletter is circulated to members of the Colorado Jewish community. I replied to this email, questioning why the DAT High School address is a ‘state secret,’ when the address of the Lowry campus middle and lower school is widely published by DAT on the Internet.
Email from a Congregational Rabbi Who Also Works Closely with Young People:
Dean Responds: I am formulating some constructive suggestions for how all Denver Jewish schools, not just DAT High School, can bolster their security. I welcome your input and that of any other community members. I’ll have more to say on this in the near future.
Email from a DAT High School Parent, Who is a Respected Local Physician:
Note from a Former Denverite Now Living in Israel:
‘Unsubscribe’ Explanation from a Current DAT High School Student:
‘Unsubscribe’ Explanation from a Former DAT High School Student, Now Studying in Israel:
‘Unsubscribe’ Explanation from a DAT High School Parent and Area Physician:
Dean Responds: We did not add or delete names from our regular subscriber list last week. Any DAT students, or students at other Jewish day schools, who received my letter have been on our subscriber rolls for months, if not years.