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Homework Time is Family Time

Homework Time is Family Time

When my son started kindergarten, I envisioned all the wonderful elementary school experiences he would have including a 5th grade year full of celebrations. I never imagined that he would finish his elementary school years taking his classes online as we continue to physically distance ourselves during Covid-19.

Today, instead of sending my son out to the bus stop each morning, I send him to the dining room table before making my way to my virtual office in the next room. At regular intervals, my husband comes out of his virtual office to check that my son is staying on task. It’s not easy having everyone working from home, and sometimes our house seems sooo small. This year, my son’s last year in elementary school, there will be no overnight school trip or 5th grade trip to Universal Studios. My son’s 5th grade yearbook probably won’t include his picture because he’s attending school virtually and won’t be there for school picture day. On the other hand, we all get to eat lunch together. Homework has become a family event with everyone pitching in. When any of us feel stressed about schoolwork, client work, or the next adult Jewish education class, we sigh and pet a cat.

It’s not exactly the year I planned, but neither is it all bad. We’ve learned to roll with whatever comes our way. My son’s time in elementary school, especially during this year of Covid-19, has reminded me that parenting is all about being flexible. Yes, we need to maintain rules and consequences. But there are also teachable moments, laughter, and the lots of practice learning how to change direction at a moment’s notice. This is the way we stay sane these days—or at least whatever passes for “sane” in the time of pandemic.

Here’s the new Melton lineup

My name is Julia Berger, and I am the Federation’s new Adult Jewish Learning Coordinator. Although I’m not brand new to this role (I began in August), I wanted my introduction to be accompanied by some big news about the Melton Adult Jewish Learning Program, and today is the day!

We just released our course schedule for fall 2020 and spring 2021, and I want to share a few details with you. You can read full course descriptions (and my bio) on the Federation’s Adult Jewish Learning page:

Members of the Tribe

Together, we’ll examine aspects of what might be considered the Jewish mission, a blend of practices that distinguish us as Jews, and what to do with this idea of being called the “Chosen People.”

6 weeks, starting October 13


Modern Living: Maintaining Balance

Workers in the United States increasingly put work-life balance at or near the top of their priority list. Surveys show that most find that balance elusive. In this course, we will explore ways we can find balance in our lives.

4 weeks, starting December 1


Jewish Medical Ethics

Within the field of ethics, one of the most challenging frontiers is medical ethics. This new course, taught by Melton’s Yael Weinstein, explores what Judaism has to say on a number of challenging issues, including human and animal cloning, surrogate motherhood and multiple parents, genetic identity, and assisted suicide/aid in dying.

10 weeks starting January 19


OMG, Can You Believe?

In this exploratory course, we’ll seek answers to the BIG questions around God and God’s relationship to Humankind. Take for yourself a Divine moment to uncover and consider many different understandings of God expressed by Jewish thinkers, past and present.

6 weeks, starting April 6

And again this year, we are allowing community members to get a taste of the Melton learning experience with a one-night-only class, and we have a timely one planned for next month:

Rhythms of Jewish Living: Sukkot

Just after the high holy days end, we are again commanded to come together to praise God, only this time in fragile booths that are both reminiscent of the story of Exodus and our agricultural past. This year, gather with fellow learners as we delve into the ancient texts that tell us how to celebrate Sukkot and contemporary texts that help us come to our own interpretation and understanding of this joyous holiday.

Tuesday, October 6 (registration details coming soon)

If you have questions about any of these courses or the Melton program in general, please feel free to contact me.

I look forward to meeting you soon!