Prague: e-Learning School Shabbaton for the Czech Republic
Children from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, parents, siblings and e-Learning teachers enjoyed a special Shabbaton weekend together, hosted by the Czech Republic’s Lauder e-Learning School.
Fifty participants attended the unique weekend program which spanned March 7 to 9, and strengthened the e-Learning community beyond the virtual classroom.
Friday afternoon, excited students, parents and organizers met in an hotel lobby, talking and giggling together in small groups, eagerly awaiting their teachers.
As teachers walked in, students jumped to meet them — finally in person — verifying their e-Learning instructors were in fact “real” people, not just moving pictures on a tablet.
The group walked to the Shalom restaurant, in Prague’s Jewish Community Centre, lit Shabbat candles and strolled to the Jubilee synagogue. The e-Learning’s Jewish Studies teacher Daniel Vanek led the Kabalat Shabbat service, while explaining each prayer and its meaning. After the evening prayer, the group ate Shabbat dinner together, back at the Shalom restaurant. The director of the Lauder School, Mrs. Katerina Dejmalova, joined the evening program.
On Sabbath morning, the adults attended prayer at the Old New Synagogue. At the same time, the children attended a special program prepared in cooperation with the Chinuch association, and bonded with children from the Jewish Community of Prague. After the prayer, the e-Learning guests enjoyed Kidush and Shabbat lunch, at the Shalom restaurant. The representative of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, Mr. Leo Pavlat, joined the morning program.
In the afternoon, e-Learning parents, students and teachers shared their unique experiences with each other, raising funny stories as well as practical suggestions about Czech Republic’s online e-Learning Jewish school.
During the Oneg Shabbat break, some of the participants rested at the hotel while others walked to the Mala Strana quarter. The group held Seudat Shlishit meal together, again at the Shalom restaurant, prayed and sang Havdala.
On Saturday night, the group pounded the alleys in a bowling competition. Sunday morning, the e-Learning families gathered at the hotel lobby, and embarked on a tour of the Jewish town, thanks to Mr. Pavlat. With excellent tour guides – Stepan and Katka Kliment – the Shabbaton participants visited the Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Klaus Synagogue and the old Jewish Cemetery. The group enjoyed lunch at the Nursing Home for the Elderly Hagibor, and bid farewell to each other — at least until their next class online at the Ronald S. Lauder e-Learning School.