For more than a month, we have been living under the specter of the coronavirus. When we first started discussing terms like “social distancing” and “distance learning,” I don’t think any of us could have imagined we would be so deeply impacted by this horrible illness.
I am truly encouraged to hear about heroes in the Palm Beaches whom I’ve featured in my recent messages to you. These dedicated people are making all of our lives better by stepping forward and filling a need, lending a hand and finding a way to quickly adapt.
This week, the administrators and educators at our community’s Jewish day school, Meyer Prep, are my heroes. Well in advance of any mandatory school closings, the team at Meyer prepared a detailed plan to completely shift to an online-learning model. Lesson plans, technology and everything in between had to be addressed in order to provide students with the high-quality education and the warm, family-like environment for which the school is known. They’ve kept up those amazing standards in these recent weeks, in large part thanks to two heroes within the Meyer faculty: educators Kelsey Guffanti and Kevin May.
Kelsey and Kevin closely followed early reports about the virus and were instrumental in making sure Meyer stayed ahead of the curve when it came to online teaching. They guided Meyer’s faculty through the transition and continue to provide technology support to students and their families – all while teaching design and innovation classes from their homes. It’s no wonder that I’m seeing photos online of Meyer students and families delivering gifts of gratitude to the homes of Kelsey, Kevin and all Meyer faculty this week.
The herculean effort at Meyer is an example of the incredible connections to Jewish learning that Federation and our partners continue to provide in these unique circumstances. This week, 500 people joined together for our Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) online event, featuring a powerful interview with a local survivor; click here if you’d like to watch it. Meanwhile, our Friedman Commission for Jewish Education’s (CJE) Melton School for Adult Jewish Learning continues to provide free online classes. And CJE’s PJ Library® and PJ Our Way™ programs are still delivering free Jewish books and music right to the doors of thousands of young families with children.
Click here to take part in a variety of upcoming discussions and educational opportunities through Federation’s programs, partners and synagogues.
All of these vital programs and services are the result of heroes just like you, doing what they can to help our community through this challenging time. Click here to explore how you can become a hero, yourself, and click here to fuel our live-saving work.
As always, I wish you Shabbat shalom.
President and CEO