Summarizing Zoom School Year

Being a student is not always easy. Being a student in a supplementary religious school, in the evening after a full school day, is even more difficult. Doing all of this from home, through a computer screen and without the obvious benefits of being in the same room with friends and teachers, can truly feel like an insurmountable challenge.

 

So first, it is worth noting the resilience of our students. With all the difficulties imposed on them by this crazy year, most deserve plenty of credit for managing to persevere. They came to the virtual meetings, participated with interest, wisdom, and sensitivity, forgave us for technical faults, and it seems, at least I hope, that they enjoyed their Jewish education despite all the abnormal circumstances of this year.

 

So, what did we have??? 

  • Thirty-six intelligent and curious students from AJ and Beth Sholom; 

  • Five teachers who invested their hearts and souls for this school year to be meaningful; 

  • Four Hebrew classes, at different levels, to meet the needs of each and every student; 

  • Jewish history from the era of our patriarchs to modern times; 

  • Jewish leadership; 

  • Deep and comprehensive roots research; 

  • Getting to know our Scriptures and Jewish Ethics; 

  • Understanding the importance of controversy and disagreements for the sake of heaven; 

  • Asking difficult questions, giving space to cast doubts, and laughing a little at ourselves; 

  • An in-depth discussion of current issues, especially racism in the United States and around the world; 

  • Social action and a constant desire to repair the world; 

  • Theology; 

  • A lot of Israel - history, current affairs, a virtual graffiti tour in the streets of Tel Aviv and a tour of contemporary Israeli culture; 

  • A Hanukkah party, Seder Tu B’Shvat, and circus arts workshop for Purim; 

  • A meaningful and touching program for Holocaust Remembrance Day together with the Kehillah of Old York Road; 

  • Inter-generational communication, learning patience, the ability to listen and inquire; 

  • Two in-person teen Shabbats with beautiful services led by our teens; 

  • A number of  B’nei Mitzvah; 

  • Five confirmands and a lovely confirmation service in our beloved sanctuary;

  • Games, quizzes, prizes and even a short video that sums up how we spent our year. Be sure to watch it on the Adath Jeshurun website.

  •  An outdoor graduation party, where our wonderful students demonstrated how much they have learned this year.

 

There were a few less-than-perfect moments including a few rebellions, some disruptions, operational glitches, muted microphones, turned-off cameras, psychedelic backgrounds, ceiling views and lots of laughs. 

 

Plans for the next school year are already in full swing. We will continue to offer some of the most successful courses of the past year as well as new elective courses in diverse fields such as Jewish culture, Bible, Judaism versus other religions, history and politics in Israel, Hebrew through music and more.

 

The most exciting change for next year that the whole teaching staff as well as our students are especially looking forward to is a return to in-person learning in our beautiful buildings. We look forward to a continuing decline in the impact of Covid until it disappears completely so that we can go back and pray together in the sanctuaries, enjoy Shabbat dinners around one big table, and celebrate twice as much to try and make up for what we have lost in the past year.

 

Wishing a wonderful summer to all students, families, and our wonderful community!