This past week we celebrated Lag Baomer with some of the most amazing “distance learning” activities on Zoom, including storytelling, safrus, scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, story videos, and a virtual tour of the mekomos hakedoshim in Eretz Yisroel. The annual first grade siddur party went virtual this year, with a full video production featuring a socially distanced distribution of siddurim at everyone’s home. Parents and students were all dressed in their Shabbos clothing, as students received their siddurim and got a special brochoh from their rebbe. I also had the opportunity to address the students about the special spirit of Lag Baomer and of the giving and caring that so many of us are involved in in our homes. The world stands on three pillars: Torah, Avodah (tefillah) and Gemilus Chassodim. It is during this stressful time that we see Klal Yisroel worldwide – including right here in Providence – excelling in these areas.
This week’s parshah describes the first fruits, bikkurim, that were brought to the Bais Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim. We are told of a celebratory parade geared toward thanking Hashem for providing us with these first fruits. Our virtual school is a partnership, with students enjoying school, teachers working hard to prepare invigorating lessons, and a parent body showing their tremendous thanks to the staff through the many letters of commendation that we have received. The school board sent a pizza dinner to the teachers as well, highlighting the message of hakoras hatov, giving thanks and appreciation. We appreciate their support.
- The school continues to train teachers with new ideas to enhance their distance learning.
- Mrs. Weiner and Rabbi Lapin have sent out a few surveys already, geared to making sure we are best meeting the needs of our students and their families.
- Over two hundred students received free breakfast and lunch meals twice per week in partnership with the school, Alliance, Parks Division, Grab and Go committee, Rhode Island Kosher, Chef Freeda, and a few parents.
- With the help of the Alliance we were able to bring cheer and happiness to numerous families with toy and other packages, and this has been greatly appreciated by our local families.
- The school parent daily digest contains a wealth of information, Torah learning opportunities, parent in-service, teacher training, and more. Schedules and teacher materials are all accessible on the school storage drive (BOX).
This week I had the opportunity to watch as United Hatzalah raised over $15 million in a short span of time, proving that each person counts and that together we can make a big difference. In a few weeks, on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Shavuos, we will be running the continuation of our postponed PLEDJE Campaign. The campaign will allow us to work together to solicit our friends and family in celebration of our successful “distance and digital learning” program. We purchased 120 Chromebooks and our three-person IT department implemented an electronic digital solution that considers the best learning solutions with ongoing staff development.
The cost of these unplanned and very successful programs required a major investment on the part of the school. We will need your support to join us, make phone calls, and help us to reach our matched goal of $110,000. You can participate through phone calling, social media shares, and emails. I am very confident that TOGETHER we will meet this goal. STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION.
In the spirit of this week’s parshah, I express my hakoras hatov to the administration, teachers, parents, students, and the lay leadership of the school. In the merit of our continued acts of kindness, may we witness the end of the virus and our return be”H to normal life.
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman