As part of our ongoing work to reach out to those thousands of Jewish children that are spread around the country without any affiliation to their Jewish identity, we opened an online Sunday school.
We currently have 4 groups with close to 100 children enrolled. These children receive through zoom an interesting lecture connected to Judaism and then based on their age group they either do arts and crafts online or they hear another lecture on various interesting topics from top world business leaders etc. Additional groups ill be added as the needs arise.
The arts and crafts packages are sent to the children through the postal service with clear instructions and at the end of the session they each show their crafts. To make them want to come there is a lottery once every two weeks.
Since we understand that an online school is not enough to get them engaged once in two months, we hold for them a long weekend (Thursday to Sunday) and every other month we arrange them a Yom Kef.
The first Shabbaton was held this past weekend and the next Yom kef will be on Chanuka. They will come and visit Pinsk and participate in our Chanuka concert etc.
The Shabbaton that we had was hosted in our summer camp resort Chaika. The children arrived Thursday morning and they were divided into groups based on their Sunday school groups. Counselors who are our current students worked with them according to the program that was prepared by our Sunday school staff who are also responsible for recruitment throughout the year.
The programs varied from general interest to getting them connected to Jewish subjects such as designing their own Kipa taught them what a Kipa is all about and many of them happily wore them since it had their personal touch to it.
The highlight of any such Shabbaton is always the Shabbos itself. Friday night many of the girls lit Shabbos candles for their first time and then heard words of inspiration from Rikki Fhima and then played a game that brought them closer to one another arranged by Sara. The boys for their part came and enjoyed a lively Kabolas Shabbos in the Shul.
Shabbos morning a festive Kidush was held where words of inspiration were given by Moshe Fhima and a childrens choir was held by the children. Throughout Shabbos divrei toirah were told and shiurim and Q&A sessions were held. It was very interesting and inspiring to see how even young children asked such deep and inspiring questions.
During Melave Malka the children put up a play where they taught us a lesson for life. It was amazing to se how over such a short time the children got closer with one another and felt very much at home.
Sunday morning the Sunday school was held frontally and not online. The children left the Shabbaton fully inspired and some of the children are already thinking to join our schools and dorms.
Throughout the Shabbaton we had psychologists who were observing the children to see the problems that they have and where help is needed. Thank you for making this happen and we look forward to continuing this program!!!