By Yael Karmi, Head of Beged Kefet, the Hebrew instruction program for grades K-12 at the APJCC
It was Purim 2020 when everything changed for Beged Kefet Hebrew School. Overnight we had to close our face-to-face program and switch to online learning via Zoom. Our dedicated and experienced teachers received training and jumped into the virtual water. The academic part of learning Hebrew was the easy part to deliver, but Beged Kefet is also about creating a community. So, we got together all the parents and kids to celebrate Passover online; our high school class led the Rabin Memorial and invited the entire Israeli community to join. To commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day the students met Hannah Rubin — a Holocaust survivor — and her daughter Haya who wrote a book about it. We even started a new program -– a short story writing competition that was organized by the Los Gatos branch of Beged Kefet for the entire Beged Kefet school (which has branches around the Bay Area).
But we missed our face-to-face classes and the human connection they bring. We wanted it and we made it happen for the 2020-21 school year — despite all the adjustments we had to make, such as smaller classes and a lot of safety procedures.
Parents are not allowed inside this year, but every Wednesday and Thursday we get to see the happy faces of our K-12 students in person at the APJCC. They are so glad to come, study together and play on the big field, where this year it’s just us and the geese. The halls of the APJCC are filled again with the laughter of kids and the sounds of busy classes learning Hebrew and celebrating the holidays together.