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May 2021 KoREH News

Experiencing Our Learning Anew
 
Don’t count the days; make the days count,” or so the saying goes. We are coming to the end of a huge communal counting in the Jewish calendar, the Omer, which enumerates seven weeks (49 total days) between the second night of Passover and the start of Shavuot. What fascinates me every year is how hard it is to say a couple of lines of blessing and count the day each evening. The words are simple, it takes maybe a minute, and yet often I struggle to remember each day.
 
That is because counting the Omer is fundamentally about pausing what you are doing, coming to a full stop, looking accurately at where you are (“Is it day 3? Day 11? Day 47?”) and humbly acknowledging that fact. Therefore, when you come to Shavuot, also known as Z’man Matan Toratienu, “The Time of the Giving of Our Torah,” you will be able to appreciate everything you have learned in the last year and rejoice in gratitude with the community who joins you to recognize that growth.
 
As a rabbi and educator, the past year at KoREH has been one of the most challenging and incredible years I could imagine. Teachers, in a matter of weeks, learned new ways of engaging students, using technology, educational advancement, health and safety guidance, and a mountain of creative thinking to produce some truly breathtaking moments of learning. Students adapted to new ways of not only learning in the classroom, but engaging in the work of asking questions, probing the possibilities of their Jewish identities, and coming to understand the world around them through new lenses. And while the pandemic and all of its consequences have left real and lasting wounds in our bodies, hearts, minds, and communal lives, I want to thank all of our KoREH families, staff, faculty, and supporters for helping us shape this incredible year of learning that is about to conclude. The gift of the Torah we have received together this year, how our Jewish communal lives still flourish even amid unprecedented times, is a treasure that will enrich our lives together.
 
Just as on Shavuot we appreciate all that we have learned by diving in together for deeper learning, so too is this only the beginning for our KoREH community. We are already registering families for next year. We know that many of you have pulled back from, or delayed, starting your children’s formal Jewish education because of the realities of life in the past year, but I want to assure you that we have a place for all of you. Registration is open and can be done online on the Kol Rinah website (Click Here).
 
We will be adding new staff and expanding options so that everyone can safely and comfortably join in our learning. As of this writing, we are planning to continue shortened Sunday sessions paired with mid-week 1-1 sessions with teachers using Zoom and other technologies for the fall semester. We will have virtual options for students who need them regularly or for a particular week, and we are looking to expand and refine the technologies at our disposal in the classroom. We will be restarting our Parent Learning Cohort with topics selected by you, our KoREH community lifelong learners. Please be in touch with me (rabbishafrin@kolrinahstl.org) or Melissa Bellows (melissa@kolrinahstl.org) if you have questions or topics of interest for our learning this year.
 
Our Reopening Taskforce and medical advisors, as well as ever changing data and advice from local, state, and national authorities, will continue to adapt to the changing conditions that may allow us to expand our opportunities for in-person learning as the year progresses. Just as we celebrate each year the growth and accomplishments of our students, we look forward to celebrating the monumental ways our school community continues to grow and change as we look ahead to the end of this year of hard-fought learning, as well as a bright and hopeful future in the 2021-2022 school year.
Thu, April 18 2024 10 Nisan 5784