May 6, 2020
By
Melissa Hume

Voices in the Field: How The Jewish Education Project Is Supporting Melissa Hume During COVID-19

Melissa Hume of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue

Over the past few months The Jewish Education Project has worked with thousands of Jewish educators who are building strong foundations today so our community can thrive in a post COVID-19 world. Over the coming weeks we will share some reflections from those educators. Today, we share words from Melissa Hume of Stephen Free Wise Synagogue in New York City.  

The offerings of The Jewish Education Project during this time of such uncertainty have been a true source of comfort and support.

Through professional networks and webinar opportunities, we as an educational community have been granted a space to tackle difficult topics, to co-think possible responses to the endless litany of questions we encounter daily, and to maintain a sense of perspective in a historical moment when it is all too easy to have tunnel vision.

Beyond the tidbits and takeaways I have gathered from individual meetings, I credit the work of The Jewish Education Project with helping me to keep an open mind and a sense of possibility in the face of this unique challenge. 

I am reminded, You are not required to finish your work, yet neither are you permitted to desist from it. Not every choice we make will be successful, but we keep trying nonetheless, and we benefit from the experiences of other educators taking on the same great project.

Each call and conversation with The Jewish Education Project provides a picture of the state of the broader Jewish educational community, bolstering my work with teachers and families in my own setting as we build our new "normal" together. While the idea of another Zoom commitment in my day can feel daunting, I walk away from each encounter with a renewed energy, fresh ideas, and increased confidence that the love and integrity that are always at the heart of my teaching can continue despite physical distance. As Jewish educators, we always strive to ground our practice in core values and beliefs, and The Jewish Education Project has consistently worked to support educators in these efforts. Now, at a time when "community" must transcend physical proximity like never before, the strength of this shared value shines through as it punctuates each conversation we have together, as we are perpetually reminded that relationships are the heart of all we have done, and all we will do in the days to come. 

Melissa Hume is Assistant Director at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Early Childhood Center. 

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