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mah koreh ? מה קורה 

10/26/2020 12:20:48 PM


Shalom! Mah koreh? means What's happening? This year, so different in so many ways, is no different in one: there are lots of things going on at the Olam Chesed Education Center.

Yes, we are meeting mostly on Zoom (more on that later) but we are managing to have really wonderful virtual gatherings, opportunities to be together across the miles, with songs, stories, and for the sake of rhyming, yes! lots of smiles.

Kinderlach & Gesher started off the year with a pre-High Holy Day adventure preparing our homes to be the sanctuaries we needed to experience a season like no other.  Nearly everyone brought their favorite stuffies to cuddle with as we welcomed the sweetness of the new year. We met again on Simchat Torah, donning crowns  received in the mail, and with parents hoisting their little human Torahs into the air and dancing with joy.

Ateed is now a combined program with teens from Beth Jacob Synagogue (Montpelier) joining us in person at JCOGS for firepit fun.  At our first meeting of the season, Simon Rosenbaum,  our teen leader, led the teens in a discussion of tikkun olam and then we made s'mores.  Our second event, scheduled for the corn maze, was unfortunately rained out but several teens got together via Zoom to join the Simchat Torah Dance Party together with teens from around Vermont. Stay tuned: Ateed will be reaching out to our community soon as part of an interfaith coat drive for Lamoille County Mental Health Services.

Mitzvah! this year has twelve students, our largest cohort ever! Meeting via Zoom each week, they've been learning trope and getting into deep discussions of the weekly parshah. For Sukkot,  they got to meet in person at the JCOGS Sukkah and that was just wonderful! Ayelet shared a teaching about Hoshanah Rabah, the prayer for rain, and the symbolism of the willow.  All enjoyed beating the ground with willow branches as they prayed for rain.

I guess it worked, because Olam Chesed Wednesday program tried not once, not twice, but three times to meet in person! They say three's a charm and the third time we gathered for a joyous outdoor program. Several activities were set up to keep everyone moving and socially distant.  In honor of our theme this year, mitzvotwe drew a GIANT Ten Commandments on the patio behind JCOGS, with each family decorating a different square.  A storywalk hung in the trees about creation; a station where we scribed letters and words in Hebrew with a feather and ink; an activity to decorate our own Shabbat candlesticks; and time to share tefillah with Rabbi David. Each family received a juicy pomegranate, learning of its symbolism in connection to the 613 mitzvot. 

New this year to Olam Chesed is a K-1 class that I have the pleasure of teaching.  Eight bright and curious students are learning about Shabbat, colors, numbers, holidays, and experiencing Hebrew Through Movement, a program that engages students kinetically with modern Hebrew that correlates to prayer Hebrew. For example, l'amod, the instruction to stand up is the root for the word Amidah, and "Y'amod!" is what Rabbi calls out as our children stand before the Torah for the first time as b'nai mitzvah.

Using breakout rooms, scavenger hunts, and art projects, we are engaging with our students on Zoom through discovery, inquiry, and social engagement. This past week Jonah led the group in a exploring the commandment of shmor v'zachor et haShabbatkeep and remember the sanctity of Shabbat.  

Join us on November 20th for our first Family & Friends Friday for this year! We're looking forward to celebrating Shabbat together with the JCOGS community.

Tue, January 26 2021 13 Sh'vat 5781