One of my strongest childhood memories is the winter of 1991. On January 15, USA attacked Iraq and the gulf war erupted. That same night, daily life in Israel changed dramatically. Under the threat of rockets, some of which were said to carry chemical and biological weapon (it turned out eventually they did not), all social gathering were at once canceled. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs were postponed; businesses were out, theaters and concerts closed, trips canceled; and schools were shut down for the duration of over a month. We were basically supposed to stay at home and only get together with small amount of people, as it was never known when rockets might hit, and if there will be enough shelter for everyone.
As stressful and scary this must have been for everyone, I remember those times as happy and sweet. We spent time as a family. We learned from parents and older siblings, and “home-schooled” our younger siblings. We cooked and had family dinners. At some point, small gatherings were allowed and we met with our teacher in small groups at her house- it was magical!
The responsibility and support of the grown-ups around me allowed me to experience that time as safe and filled with opportunities. At our current time of stress and uncertainty, I hope to do the same for my own children, and with your support, for your children- my dear students.
It was hard to say goodbye on Friday and knowing that we will not meet in person for a few weeks. But we will all do our best to continue connecting and learning. On Friday, I had conversations about distant learning with the 3rd graders, and with the Jewish Studies group of 5-7th graders. Your kids showed an amazing amount of understanding and maturity.
The 3rd graders received in their envelope texts and books to read in Hebrew, and worksheets to complete. I will be also happy to set online learning session through Zoom- once my own schedule will become more clear, I will schedule those, and everyone will be invited. For Jewish Studies, the 3rd graders will learn remotely about Pesach. There are parts of the Hagaddah for them to read and a lot of online resources they can use.
For upper school, learning assignments will be given online and I will also respond to them, give feedback and guidance when needed through email or google hangouts.
Please know that you and your children can always contact me and I will be available to help and support their learning. Keep safe and healthy. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person again.