Saturday, May 15, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has made connections more difficult to build in recent months, and so making those connections requires ever increasing creativity. Everything has moved to online platforms, and schools and other organizations constantly look for ways to distinguish their virtual programs from others.

Yeshivat Noam in Paramus pulled off a tremendous feat of creative ingenuity at its virtual open house on Oct. 27. At exactly 8:04 p.m., following a video prompt with Rabbi Chaim Hagler, head of school, 80 parent volunteers performed a synchronized greeting and delivery of swag bags to prospective parents all over Bergen County, providing a personal touch even while the open house was virtual. The greeters read off a short, prepared script and gave the prospective families the bags that also contained snacks.

The program was the brainchild of Rabbi Hagler and was brought to fruition by numerous Noam parent and staff volunteers. Several volunteers spent time assembling the bags and then delivered the bags to 10 parent greeters. On the night of the open house, each greeter drove to a home of a prospective parent and waited outside to knock on the door at the exact time coordinated by Rabbi Hagler’s opening skit video. The greeters successfully achieved a simultaneous in-person delivery, with masks and appropriate social distancing, of course, to add that personal touch to the open house and bring the warmth of Yeshivat Noam to the prospective families.

Amy Vogel, director of development at Noam, explained, “Recruiting the volunteers from our staff and parent body was easy because we have a culture of volunteerism and community in the Yeshivat Noam family. Staff and parents immediately jumped at the opportunity to serve as ambassadors during the open house.”

It was this sense of community that the parent greeters and the staff of Yeshivat Noam through them, sought to bring to the prospective families. Whether by observing the sheer number of greeters who volunteered or reading the supportive comments on its Facebook page about this initiative, one can see the warmth for which Yeshivat Noam is known.

“Having an in-person ambassador at the door of the 80 prospective families in Bergen county was our way of sharing this special aspect of our school,” commented Vogel.