Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

ShalomLearning will provide Hebrew school for free during school closures

 

April 24, 2020



With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the world’s students and teachers into online virtual classrooms, many Hebrew schools were left unprepared to make the transition. Education technology nonprofit ShalomLearning has been stepping up to the challenge by providing nearly all of its popular and well-regarded learning resources for free, ensuring that all children are able to maintain their connection to Jewish values at this trying time.

As Jewish day schools, congregational religious schools and synagogues grapple with school closures, many have been looking for turnkey Jewish education resources specifically designed for virtual classrooms. ShalomLearning’s platform fits that need. Launched in 2011 with the goal of supporting and improving upon an often-overlooked but critically important corner of the Jewish world, its curricula has been used successfully to both replace and augment the physical classroom.

Interest in ShalomLearning has been rising at a steady pace over the past five years, but it has skyrocketed in the past month. Since March 9th, an additional 210 teachers began using the platform, while the number of students enrolled grew by 2,000 to 7,800 at 154 congregations across North America.

That number is certain to rise even further after the non-profit announced it will provide free access to its values-based lessons designed for the virtual classroom through the end of the school year. ShalomLearning has always offered financial assistance to communities in need. Given the current crisis, we are giving scholarships with the hopes of finding funders later or just going above and beyond in terms of giving stuff away.

“Our number one priority is assuring that Jewish children have the opportunity to learn Jewish values, which are critical to leading a meaningful life,” said Josh Troderman, ShalomLearning’s CEO. “Like many small non-profits, we struggle with limited funds, but so do many synagogues. We decided that giving our products away for free right now is the right thing to do as we all work through this situation together.”

ShalomLearning also trains educators to ensure they feel equipped to teach the curriculum. It has given several free webinars over the past two weeks, with hundreds of Jewish educators in attendance.

“Whatever we can do to help people who are new to educational technology like ours, we will do,” Troderman added. “The Jewish people become stronger when we all support one another. I learned that in Hebrew school.”

 

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