skip to Main Content

Kehillah – Adapting & Thriving During A Pandemic

When schools and social settings closed down, kids (and parents) had a tough time getting the education, entertainment and feeling of community that they needed.  When the world changed due to COVID-19, EVERYONE was upended, and the transition was especially difficult for those with special needs.  Luckily for people of all ages with different abilities in our area, our Kehillah program blossomed online so that our community could keep being educated and entertained – together, even if only on  computer screen.  “In March of 2020, we had to quickly shift our classes to an on-line format in our Kehillah department,” said Tina Edwards, Kehillah Director. “Our friends were grateful to be able to see us and still have that personal connection. Together we navigated through this “new normal”, enjoying Afternoon Adventures on-line together, going for walks, doing yoga at the beach, playing wacky hop-scotch and ultimate frisbee while our friends followed along, or watched the video of the class at their convenience.”

As the pandemic worsened, our offerings improved to meet the needs of families, isolated in their homes and in need of a spark. Edwards says, “Social group continues to be entertaining with everyone on Zoom (it reminds us of a Brady Bunch episode!), we quickly learned how to take turns, check in on one another, ask about the family members and pets in our respective houses, sing together and we like to play music and socialization games and do some fun movement segments. Art class is a peaceful, supportive and creative experience with our friends online, where we still get to socialize while creating masterpieces. Cooking was on Facebook Live and everyone enjoyed trying new recipes and our viewers looked forward to the guest chefs that regularly joined us!

As the JCC has begun to reopen, Kehillah (like the rest of the J) is adopting a hybrid model where we both welcome guests into the J while having zoom in each class for folks who aren’t as keen on returning to the center.  “Our Best Buddies group continues to be on-line and we’ve enjoyed playing games, guessing songs and doing art activities together. This has been a year of transition and learning for all of us,” says Edwards.  She continues, joyful and exuberant about the positive change she’s brought about in her community. “I’ve found such joy when I see  the twinkle in the eyes and smiles on the faces of those friends whose schedules and lives have been totally upended,” she said. “To me, what I’ve missed is being with people, especially my friends in Kehillah and at the JCC, but I feel that I’ve made a difference if I’ve made them smile and helped them stay connected.”

Kehillah is back with a new fall schedule – view it here and tell your friends!