By Ramona L. Brand, Director of Youth Learning
We did not just survive, We thrived!
We have conducted Temple Beth-El Religious School virtually now for 14 long months and are slowly and carefully moving toward returning to in-person instruction and sense of normalcy. It has been a challenging journey, complete with both stumbles and triumphs.
The entire TBE teaching staff reached beyond their comfort zone to learn new teaching techniques, experiment and deliver exceptional education. There has rightly been concern about educational losses during this unusual year with much wielding of academic yardsticks to previous years. It would be easy to concentrate on what we didn’t achieve, what advancement in Hebrew wasn’t acquired or what Judaics knowledge wasn’t attained.
We all know that teaching over Zoom is not the ideal, and we faced hurdles in maintaining students’ attention, focus and retention.
However, as this past year has proven, our Religious School did not just survive, it thrived!
Students made tangible and documented progress in their educational growth. That was easy to assess. More important were the intangible gains we achieved. Our students maintained their sense of community, many of them connecting with each other online or by phone after classes. Members of the TBE Teen Board developed amazing leadership skills and expanded the teen program with monthly Zoom hangouts, and in-person events, when possible.
Numerous guests, from around the country and the globe enriched our students with amazing programs from music, Tikkun Olam, theater, art, social and emotional wellness, and Global Judaism.
Love of Judaism
Teachers inspired a love of Judaism and Jewish identity in our students through their love, support and personal care that reached through the screen and into our students’ homes. We expanded our world despite being at home.
Our school actually grew this year, with new families joining into the winter. Attendance remained steady despite the fatigue of screen time. Students came to class with smiles on their faces, a desire to learn, asking good questions and feeling connected to their Jewish roots. In September, we will be thrilled to be together again in person.
We will happily leave our home classrooms behind, but will have the satisfaction of knowing, we made them “a Meeting Place for Sages.” (Pirke Avot 1:4)
Thanks to our Teachers
Many thanks to the TBE teachers: Lisa Wilburn, Kelly Crockett, Harlan Loebman, Rabbi Ilan Pardo, Miriam Aniel, Brandon Metheny , Rabbi Bill Kraus, Rabbi Michael Knopf, Cantor Dara Rosenblatt, Alison Litvin, and Claudia Sachs.
Summer Tot Shabbat Saturday: Under the Blue Sky!
DATES TBA: there will be two in June and two in July
Celebrate Shabbat in Nature! Listen to the birds and feel the sun on your face as we gather to sing, pray and explore Shabbat in Nature. We will socially distance, but be spiritually close. Bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs.
Time: 10-11 a.m.
Location: meet behind the VMFA on the Grove Avenue side of the lawn. For Dates and to RSVP, email Ramona at firstname.lastname@example.org
Open to the entire community
Temple Beth-El Religious School is Hiring!
Seeking a variety of positions for Sunday and Wednesday Religious School for Hebrew and Judaics instruction and also seeking an Inclusion Specialist.
If you would like to be a part of our dynamic team for the 2021-2022 academic year, email email@example.com.
Registration for the 2021-2022 Academic Year is Open
To register or for more information, visit https://www.bethelrichmond.org/school or contact Ramona Brand.