I’ve never told Isabelle this — and probably shouldn’t admit to this in writing — but I dislike having our weekends disrupted by Hebrew School. There, I said it. (But, so help me G-d, I won’t admit this to my children… so don’t say a word to my kids if you know us in real life!)
Isabelle attended a Jewish day school (for Kindergarten – second grade) where half of the school day was secular studies and the other half of the day was Hebrew and Judaics. Now that she’s in public school and in third grade, Isabelle attends Hebrew school two days a week (i.e., Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings) in preparation for her Bat Mitzvah. She’s bitter about Wednedsay afternoons since she’s tired after a full day of school. I’m bitter about Sunday mornings since having a required activity every Sunday morning breaks up the flow of our weekend. No longer can we have leisurely Sunday mornings where we “sleep in” until 7:30 and then Marc takes the kids to breakfast. Nope. We have to get the kids up early to get to Hebrew School on-time on Sunday mornings.
Last Sunday morning, our synagogue canceled Hebrew School due to our Governor’s statewide school closure. I’ll admit, it was kind of nice to have a Sunday morning with no where to go.
I should be careful about what I wish for since we’ve had no where to go all week long!
Therefore, I was thrilled (Yes, thrilled!) when I received a mid-week communication that Hebrew School was going to be virtual today. The schedule was:
- 10:00 – 10:45 a.m.: Q&A with the Rabbi for the Younger Kids
- 10:45 – 11:00 a.m.: Song Session for All Students
- 11:00 – 11:45 a.m.: Q&A with the Rabbi for the Older Students
While it wasn’t scheduled for as long as religious school typically is, I was happy my children would have a chance to connect with their teachers and classmates.
This morning, Ari and I signed on first. Initially, Ari was excited to see the Rabbi and the faces of some of his classmates. (One of his friend’s moms texted us to say her daughter was excited to see Ari. We sent a video message back.) We raised our hand in Zoom and Ari asked the Rabbi a question. Things seemed to be going along well, but then Ari decided he wanted to go for a walk. He was sent back by a grandparent, which led to him sitting reluctantly for five more minutes before departing again. I let him go since I’m in no position to chase after him.
Isabelle arrived at 10:45 a.m. for the song session, which was beautiful. Everyone was muted so we were able to hear the song leader’s voice and guitar while we sang together. Eventually, Isabelle began playing around with Zoom so she could see who else was on the Zoom call during the Q&A. She wasn’t brave enough to ask a question, but she listened respectfully.
I think our synagogue’s leadership is trying to determine how cyber Hebrew School is going to look. Despite the fact that the two-week moratorium on school expires this Friday, I highly doubt Hebrew School will be running next Sunday. Quite frankly, as long as there’s some kind of programming, I’ll be more than happy for Cyber Hebrew School to continue… though I might not complain about it as much next year if it continues through the end of May. (Let’s be honest, I probably will. NOT having religious school on the weekends was one of the best parts of sending Isabelle to Jewish day school.)