Recently several Hey Class students of Temple B'nai Abraham's Religious School of the Louis and Emily Slater Youth Center fulfilled the ancient obligation of retelling the story of Passover, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt, in a non-traditional way. Participants did not sit together around a festively adorned Seder table, but gathered around the telephone as the 12 and 13-year-old students shared the traditional Seder in story and song with older citizens and persons with limited mobility through the convenience of teleconferencing. under the direction of Temple B'nai Abraham Assistant Religious School Director Barrie Halpern and Cantor Jessica Epstein.
This intergenerational outreach activity is under the auspices of University Without Walls (UWW), among one of the numerous educational programs sponsored by DOROT, a nonprofit social service organization for the elderly. In the comfort of their own home, the senior adults followed along by using Haggadahs specially prepared by TBA.
Commenting on the scope of the Hey Class program and objectives, Janet Resnick Temple B'nai Abraham's Religious School Director noted, "The seventh grade Hey class curriculum provides the young people with many opportunities to perform acts of kindness, Gemilut Chasidim, giving of your time and energy. The students volunteer in the Synagogue and in the community in addition to learning about the Holocaust, Jewish literacy terms, and Hebrew prayers. The philosophy of the Hey class is to empower the students to get involved and make a difference in the world today."
Assistant Director Barrie Halpern reflected, "This Intergenerational Passover Seder is an exciting and unique program for a group of seventh graders to give back to their community, specifically the older citizens in the surrounding area. The telephone Seder will provide a link between the generations and an opportunity for the students to tell the Passover Seder in creative and innovative ways; sharing stories, poems and singing traditional songs with the Passover guests."
Pictured getting ready to lead the Seder are: Top- left to right: Hey Class student Jared Borodinsky, Barrie Halpern (Assistant Director-Hey Class Coordinator) Cantor Jessica Epstein and Hey Class student Zach Hyman. Bottom Row: Hey Class students Mackenzie Morrow, Carly Geffner, Ali Abrams and Kyle Budlow. Not pictured: Hey Class student Alex Silverberg.