That’s a Wrap for 5780! A Message from Alysse

As we wrapped up this year in our Jewish Studies program, it was hard not to notice that it wasn’t the wrap-up we had hoped for. Our Jewish Studies teachers, assistant teachers, staff, and students all missed being together in person and celebrating all of our hard work and achievements. Nevertheless, our online send-off and the subsequent Shabbat service led by Kita 3 – 6 were truly beautiful and connected. We were able to share our work, sing together, and thank all the teachers who made this year successful, and who pivoted so swiftly to online teaching. They truly took up the challenge – creating cooking videos, breakout chats, active games, and astonishing me with their creativity and their dedication to our program. I’m truly proud of this team – including our students! – for all the resilience and hard work. Kol HaKavod!

On May 23, six students from our B’nei Mitzvah class became Bat/Bar Mitzvah online! They truly faced these challenging times head-on, and helped us to innovate and create meaningful and personalized ways to pray and celebrate together.  They sang together, chanted from the Torah, and shared beautiful words of Jewish wisdom with their families and community. We are so grateful to have been able to celebrate with you, and very excited to continue to support you as you become Jewish adults in the DJC community in the years ahead. Yasher Koach!

The DJC’s Teen program had an awesome year! Thanks to our teen leadership team (Ruby, Jacob, Diana, and Jonah), our events were better than ever – even when they went online.  The teen leaders worked hard to create an online space where their friends could still connect and support each other – celebrating birthdays, playing games, and just hanging out. This year, several teens also joined a trip in February to the L’Taken Social Justice Seminar in Washington DC, where they learned about advocacy and delivered passionate speeches to members of the Canadian Embassy.

Another highlight of our year has been the monthly ‘Shabbat and Me’ program led by Fran Sharpe (for preschoolers and their families). These friendly, engaging, and inclusive sessions have allowed many young members of our congregation to engage with Jewish learning – and have even made them smile! – during our time in quarantine. Many thanks to Fran for giving families with young children a space to gather, connect, learn, and laugh.

We are already looking forward to connecting again next year!
-Alysse Rich, Director of Education