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An Important Message for Hebrew/Religious School Parents from Education Director Beata Abraham

Dear Temple Israel Religious/Hebrew School Families,

          We find ourselves living in what is known in Hebrew as an Elu V’Elu (this and this) moment, when we know things which are not necessarily compatible, to be simultaneously true. We all long to be together as a community, but we feel equally strongly about our commitment to keeping each other safe. With the health and well-being of our students, your families, your extended families, and our teachers in mind, we knew that we would not be able to return to in person learning in a fashion that would promote community among all the children in a particular grade, for the Fall season. You have enough uncertainty in your life right now; we want to give you the certainty of Jewish online learning. We expect you’ll have questions, so we’ve thought of a few—see below. I am always available to answer any additional questions!


What will virtual Sunday learning look like? What about Virtual Hebrew learning?

Virtual learning will look a bit different than in person learning. Sunday morning classes will be staggered by grades, to allow families with multiple children to participate at different times. Virtual learning for lower grades will be approximately 45 minutes, for grades 5th-8th- approximately 60 minutes. Art and Hebrew will be an additional 20 minutes. Hebrew School will begin at 4:00 PM with a Tefillah learning session, followed by individual grade learning. Third and Fourth grades will learn for approximately 45 minutes, while Fifth and Sixth grades will learn for an hour or longer.

My kid(s) are already doing so much online, I want to give them a break!

We know how challenging online learning is. We also wish we could give students a break from screen time. But Jewish learning has always been able to adapt to the challenges surrounding it. Given what’s going on in the world today, it is even more important from a Jewish education standpoint that your child(ren) have the opportunity to engage with their Jewish community, maintain and create new Jewish rituals, learn to navigate their complicated lives through Jewish values and to hold on to their Jewish identities. This is the time to make sure your child(ren) has the warm support of their teachers, community, and clergy.

I’m worried that my child will struggle to engage with virtual learning. How will you keep them engaged?

As is our goal when we are in person, TI strives for Jewish educational excellence. With remote learning, we will include different modalities to present content, ranging from videos to games to interactive activities, short “scavenger hunts” to find items relevant to the topic. There will be opportunities for each child to teach (share their knowledge or experiences with their classmates), engage in small group discussions through break-out rooms, and more. This past spring we only scratched the surface of ideas that are available. Our new curricula, designed to engage students on an online platform as well as our teachers’ training in virtual teaching, will allow us to excite our students in new, creative ways. Art and Hebrew specialties will be adapted to the virtual classroom.

With community and teacher/peer connections being an integral part of the Religious/Hebrew School experience, how will my child be able to connect through virtual learning?

Community is very important to us. We start and end every session with a class check-in, giving each child a chance to share their thoughts and feelings. Our teachers are experienced with facilitating group activities at every level that encourage connections and getting to know each other and grow lasting friendships.

What about Hebrew learning? How can my child’s teacher effectively teach decoding and Tefillah (Prayer) in such a short period of weekly remote learning?

When we switched to remote learning last spring, we learned that with the support of parents, a short period of concentrated instruction and adapted materials can be very effective in teaching and practicing Hebrew/Tefillah. Our new virtual learning materials come with an option to supplement learning with an app that can be used at home to reinforce material learned in class.

What will be my responsibility as a parent to support my child’s learning?

Remote learning does require some support from a parent or caregiver, especially for students in the lower grades. You know your child best, and their ability to be independent. You will not be asked to print out materials to be brought to class. However, we will ask that you ensure that your child is respectfully engaging with their remote classroom: staying visible on the screen, muting only when asked, not leaving the room, cooperating and engaging with teacher requests and prompts.

The students are used to having Tefillah on Sundays and Tuesdays. Will Tefillah sessions continue remotely?

You can look forward to hearing your child(ren) praying and singing with Cantor Moses during Tefillah. Tefillah on Sunday mornings will take place on Zoom and will be live streamed on FaceBook at 11:00 AM for the entire Religious School community. Tuesday Tefillah, will either be live or recorded, with the link available to Hebrew School students to watch at their convenience each week.

Will Madrchim still be a part of the classroom?

Absolutely! Our teen Madrichim remain a vital part of our learning community. They will be in virtual classrooms in creative new roles, with the same goals of being there to support the teachers and students in their class in every way possible (plus their tech-savvy teen knowledge is more important than ever!)

What will be new and exciting this year?

This year, more than ever Tikun Olam will be incorporated into the virtual classroom. Each grade will have opportunities to learn about a specific organization, and safely work together with them to make a difference by helping them achieve their goals.


Jewish learning is not just something that takes place inside the classroom, but also an important part of the fabric of family life. This year teachers will send home optional monthly activities, projects, and ideas for doing Gemilut Chasadim (acts of kindness), together as a family. Whenever possible, and in accordance with CDC and state guidelines, we will gather in person for family fun activities, to celebrate holidays, explore nature, and engage in social action as a school community. We genuinely appreciate your involvement in our school and appreciate your feedback. We want to make this a great Jewish experience for you and your entire family!

Don't Miss Out! Register for the 2020 - 2021 School Year

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Questions? Contact Education Director Beata Abraham.

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Temple Israel Religious School offers our congregants of all ages a premiere lifelong Jewish learning experience.  Our mission is to nurture Jewish identity and values through lifelong learning.  More information...


Sun, August 9 2020 19 Av 5780