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Or Atid teachers carefully packed each family’s plant kit for Tu B’Shvat. Or Atid Photos

By Alison Litvin
Religious School Administrator

Welcoming the spring season together, families at the Kornblau Religious School celebrated nature with a virtual first for the semester: a school-wide, hands-on Tu B’shvat workshop.

Tu B’shvat sprouts – Students shared each week the plant growth of the flowers they planted for Tu B’Shvat.

With each class participating in the event, students took recyclable materials to create unique, reusable, self-watering planters. Featuring upcycled lotion jars and scrap paper, Tu B’shvat Activity Kits were specially packed and delivered to each family by the school’s dedicated team of teachers. Included in each kit were soil discs and flower seeds, and at the conclusion of the workshop everyone made a wish for the future while planting their seeds of hope.

In the following weeks students and teachers continued to share the progress of their flowers, excitedly bringing their planters up to the camera at the start of each class to highlight new growth, notice new changes, and take a moment to appreciate how all of us are also growing from week-to-week.

The Tu B’shvat workshop’s success created a new way for classes to celebrate holidays in the virtual classroom together. As part of a school-wide Purim celebration, students explored the cultural and personal significance of masks around the world. Inspired by Inuit, Venetian, Mali, and many more global styles, students and teachers designed their own unique masks filled with personal meaning. The Purim festivities continued with an online costume show and Mad-Libbed Purim Spiel, another virtual first for the school.

With Passover on the horizon, school staff are preparing to deliver family holiday kits for Passover, featuring supplies for a modified chocolate Seder and “Flat Elijah” project.

Inspired by the classic “Flat Stanley,” families will receive a flat portrait of the Prophet Elijah, taking and sharing photos of “Flat Elijah” visiting their Seder table.  The bagged activity kits offer students and families unique opportunities to celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions. This year’s classroom may be virtual, but that doesn’t limit staff or students from discovering new ways to engage with the Jewish calendar, Israeli culture, Hebrew and Tefillah, and the weekly Parsha.

For more information about the school, and to learn about our approach to distance learning, please contact Religious School Administrator, Alison Litvin, at relschool@oratid.org, or call Congregation Or Atid at (804) 740 – 4747.

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