April 19, 2024
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Growing Together When We’re Apart

Shomrei Torah launches digital shul platform to connect, engage and uplift community.

(Courtesy of Shomrei Torah) As COVID-19 continues to impose unprecedented disconnect for our Jewish communities, Shomrei Torah is establishing new ways to connect, engage and uplift its members.

On Wednesday, March 25, the shul launched it’s new #AloneTogether digital platform. Through five core focuses—Learning, Chesed, Youth, Pesach and Mental Health—“the website aims to centralize the overload of information that we are receiving from moment to moment and to cultivate opportunities for community members to engage with one another and allows for them to find resources to navigate unforeseen challenges during the coronavirus pandemic,” explained Rebbetzin Sara Markowitz, who designed the project with Noah Schultz, a senior in Yeshivat Frisch. With new reliance on digital technologies, the shul sees the platform as an effective and dynamic way to connect with its community, which allows it to provide meaningful opportunities to engage with members through newly developed digital programming and initiatives.

The website provides a comprehensive hub for all aspects of Jewish life with an extensive library of programming and resources for the community.

The Learning module of the website outlines a plethora of digital learning opportunities. A newly founded at-home-shiur series, which includes multiple morning and night sessions daily, and a variety of pre-Pesach shiurim provide members with a multitude of educational opportunities to continue traditional learning in a digital environment. Online programming also includes Nightly Maariv, Teen Minyanim, Women’s Tehillim and Daf Yomi.

The Youth section features a variety of ongoing programming and resources for children and teens. Featuring both new initiatives, like Erev-Shabbos Zooms and pre-Pesach online events, as well as the continuation of current programming, such as the Lila Levinson Bat Mitzvah Program, the shul is ensuring that it continues to engage its youngest members with educational experiences on its new platform.

The Pesach segment of the website includes a variety of online resources to ease the anxieties of community members preparing for the holiday during the COVID-19 outbreak. The platform features a variety of resources pertaining to numerous aspects of preparing for chag, including extensive guides from Shomrei Torah, the OU and Star-K; a Q&A between community members and Rabbi Markowitz; and tools to sell chometz and give Maot Chitim online.

Finally, the Chesed and Mental Health portions of the platform serve to provide essential resources to the community to deal with challenges faced during these unsettling times. The platform confidentially facilitates chesed opportunities to offer support to those impacted by COVID-19 and features additional ways for members to give to individuals and organizations in need. The Mental Health component similarly extends a helping hand to the community in providing resources to those dealing with the emotional and psychological consequences of COVID-19. The resources provided include guides for both adults and children, local counselors providing pro-bono support to the community, referrals to professional telehealth services, community support groups and more.

The platform additionally allows the community to access pertinent information on shul services and guidance, which includes up-to-date information on the mikvah and RCBC guidelines.

The shul continues to develop the platform to keep the community informed about the resources, programming, and initiatives ongoing at Shomrei Torah that will continue to bring everyone together during undoubtedly difficult times.

As Rabbi Markowitz wrote in his address to the community, “Amid the stress and uncertainty, it’s never been more critical to stay connected with one another.” While the community can’t physically be together, Shomrei Torah’s commitment to ensure the health and well-being of its members physically, emotionally and spiritually remains unwavering. In connecting the community on an innovative new digital platform, Shomrei Torah aims to continue to let the warmth and vitality of the shul permeate into its members homes and lives, and more importantly, enable the community to emerge from difficult times stronger and more united than ever.

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