I don’t know about all of you, but I have definitely had enough of this virus. At this point more and more of us have a personal connection to an infected victim, I know that I do. One in critical condition.
And to make matters worse we can’t even go visit people and comfort them. We are told to distance and the newest term:
For years we have been telling our children and students to get off their phones and get off screens. And what does this new reality do? It encourages more screen time as the source of interaction and learning.
Of course, distance learning and remote communication has been around for decades at this point. It has developed and evolved. Most of us have taken at least one if not multiple courses online, are members of online information groups and communicate via at least three different platforms on a daily basis.
When transportation and socializing are limited, daily outings are severely restricted and even synagogue attendance is frowned upon across the world, this is the time to escape into another time and place.
This is a time when we can curl up with a good book like Gila Green’s Passport Control in which a Yemenite Jewish student from Canada learns about her family’s past while on a semester in Israel. Younger children can imagine a life in 15th century Spain in The Key from Spain by Debbie Levy. Imagine if young and old alike could escape these surreal times and experience 12th century Morocco or 17th century Amsterdam or 19th century Surinam. Imagine the discussions this could lead to.
My 11-year-old is working on a Pesach project in which he is comparing the illustrations in various Haggadot from the Birds Head Haggadah through today’s Ethiopian and Survivors Haggadah. Comparing the four sons from the Sarajevo Haggadah with that of a Haggadah on Russian Jewry sparks interest in the context for each of the time periods (of course, with some adult encouragement).
In the meantime, why not encourage students and your children to explore a community, a personality or a time period by igniting their curiosity with one our educational clips . During these trying times we have opened all the clips for free for personal, home and institutional use. Write to us if you want a one to two-page background for any of the clips with suggested programming options that students can do online or via texts.
As we said we are all looking for our social groups online these days, why not broaden the base?