As I’ve walked through the halls of Shaarei Tikvah these past few months, it’s amazing how incredibly quiet, yet full of life, the building is all at the same time. When I enter the classrooms, they’re almost exactly as we left them in March. If I close my eyes, I can hear the lively conversations and I’m in awe of our students’ beautiful artwork that still decorates our walls. And at the same time, we have grown so much since then and the version of ourselves today is far beyond who we were in the physical classroom months ago. Because of each parent, student, teacher, caretaker, we’ve built a beautiful virtual community to continue our learning and as a result, only strengthened our connection to Shaarei Tikvah.
When we moved to a virtual platform in March, there were many unknowns, but thanks to our leadership, teachers and the commitment of our families, we thrived and learned some valuable lessons. So, it seems only fitting that when we return in September for Religious School, it will not look the same as it always has. Our new Religious School structure will allow for an outdoor setting, smaller class sizes and students will only meet in person once a week. We will compliment the in- person learning with small group Hebrew instruction online, which will provide more individualized attention and our students will continue to develop their skills.
Today, I was reminded of one of my favorite Pirkei Avot teachings, “Hillel says: Do not separate yourself from the community.” When I reflect on the past few months, I feel immense gratitude for this community, one that has continued time and time again to show up and be present for one another, never truly distancing from one another (except socially when appropriate!). While I’m incredibly grateful that we will be able to gather in person again, I know that no matter what the next few months have in store, we will continue to grow as a community.