Dear Makor Students, Parents & Families,
I am so excited to be joining the amazing family and community that is Temple Beth Or. The Makor program is an amazing source of Jewish education and inspiration, and I am overjoyed to begin working with all the teachers and students in the program. Being offered the opportunity to continue building upon that passion at Temple Beth Or was and continues to be a true joy.
In early June, the religious school committee and I began discussing every contingency in order to bring Makor to your homes safely and without sacrificing educational quality. We started the planning process by ensuring we would still be able to have synchronous learning with live interactions between students and teachers. It has become more and more apparent that in-person classes, taking place as they have in past years, are not in the best interest of the health of our students, teachers, parents and stakeholders of the school. For that reason, we are announcing that Makor will continue in a blended online education model with opportunities for in-person, parking lot, family education programs, which will take place outside in a socially distanced fashion.
Our first day of Makor is September 13, 2020. It was initially planned for August 23rd, but in order to give families more time to accommodate online education and your day-school schedules, we have decided to delay the opening. On September 13th, we will have our first parking-lot program to kick off the High Holiday season. This exciting program will be filled with safe family activities, Tikkun Olam opportunities, live (distanced) music, and opportunities to fill out Makor registration forms (if not already done so) starting at 10:00am.
In addition to transitioning to online educational opportunities, we have decided to change how we deliver classes to capitalize on shorter experiences online. We are so excited that we will be instituting a “big-school” model, which will begin every Sunday session with a short 20-minute lesson created by Rabbis Chessin and Azriel. Following this tv-show style lesson, all students will break out into smaller age groups and have short social/religious/musical experiences led by one of our amazing teachers. The schedule will be:
- 10:00-10:20 All school program with Rabbis Chessin and Azriel (all ages)
- 10:20-10:25 Transition to breakout Zoom rooms
- 10:25-10:40 Class & Music for Pre-K to 2nd grade
- 10:25-10:50 Class for 3rd-5th grade
- 10:25-11:00 Class for 6th grade and up
For students 2nd grade and below the entire Sunday School online experience will be less than 40 minutes, for 3rd through 5th grade, our school time will not exceed 50 minutes and all older students will be in class for no more than an hour. Our online sessions will begin at 10am and will start on October 11th.
As a part of our educational model this year, Temple Beth Or wants to ensure families’ abilities to take part in Jewish education on their own schedule. All families registered for Makor will be given access to an online education platform with hundreds of games, stories and activities for kids to watch and play on any device. This program should be a priceless resource for engaging students throughout the year when we cannot be in person.
Finally, our Hebrew program will undergo a change of its own. All Hebrew students will be offered 30-minute one-on-one lessons once a week. These lessons should provide ample opportunity to learn, maintain and advance Hebrew skills. After registering, we will work together to determine a suitable time for both your family and our Hebrew tutors. Through the use of textbooks and online Hebrew platforms, we are striving to bring Hebrew alive and teach it just as well as we can in person. In addition to the one-on-one lessons, students will have the opportunity to practice skills online on multiple game and educational platforms which tutors can monitor.
The religious school committee and board of Temple Beth Or recognize that our change in education comes with a need to consider the financial model and registration fees. Even though our expenses remain very similar, we have decided to reduce the registration fees for Makor this year. We have also chosen to charge per semester as we may have the ability to change our model in the spring, should it be safe to do so. The registration fee schedule is as follows:
- Students in Hebrew education – $250 per semester
- Non-Hebrew Students – $100 per semester
These fees will include access to all our online platforms, parking-lot family education experiences, and online live teaching on Sunday morning. Please note, we value education over any fee charged — if the registration fee is burdensome to you and your family during at this time, we are happy to work out a plan or look at scholarship opportunities for your student(s). In addition, if you are in a place to support the congregation over and above the new registration fee, your support does not go unnoticed.
I want to thank you for your time and continued dedication and interest in Makor and bringing Jewish education alive. Our registration is live and can be found at www.tinyurl.com/MakorReg. As always, please feel free to reach out which any questions or concerns.
B’bracha (with blessings)
Rabbi Benjamin G. Azriel