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HAFTR Highlights

Adjusting to online learning, adapting to a different Passover


Zoom classrooms, distance learning, boy, I never realized just how much I would miss school! Although our new learning is not without its challenges for everyone, I have found that as long as we are open-minded and willing to make the best of it, we will be more successful.

If I had ever given online learning a thought before our current situation, I would have likely thought I could stay in bed all day and just sail through daily classes without having to really “get up.” I now know this is not the case. Our online classes are engaging, and the learning has not halted despite our new situation. Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School students are getting used to keeping up with online deadlines on Google Classroom and turning assignments in on multiple sites.

Our teachers have been great in helping students facilitate an easy transition from in-person to online learning. They care that our families are all healthy and that we are OK at home and adjusting well to our new learning. Our classes usually begin with teachers expressing concern over our mental, physical and emotional well-being. They frequently remind us to get exercise and fresh air.

High school students also have the opportunity to speak to our school psychologist and social workers during these challenging times. Students can discuss any challenges they are having, school-related or not. HAFTR has also implemented ways in which students can socialize with each other and talk to faculty. HAFTR has online psalm Zooms every morning, during which students and faculty pray for those affected during this difficult time. After reciting psalms, teachers or rabbis give a brief Torah lesson.

Going to school has pretty much been our way of life. It’s not easy to be away from friends and classrooms. Hopefully, we will be back soon. In the meantime, we will make the best of it and stay positive.

A different Passover

Passover will be strange. It will be different. This year at the Seders, the question is not “How is this night different from all other nights,” but rather “How is this Passover different from all other Passovers?”

Although many of our Passover plans have changed, this Passover will be an opportunity to have a special time with our immediate family. In some ways, we will be more connected than ever before, and it could be our most meaningful Passover ever. Of course, it will be sad not to be with our grandparents, and it will likely even be harder for our grandparents to not be with us. When we conclude our Seders with “Next year in Jerusalem,” let us also say “Next year may we all be together.”

Wishing everyone a meaningful Passover. Remember: wash your hands, don’t touch your face and keep your distance. Good health to everyone.