Jewish organizations launch online portals to minimize coronavirus impact

Israel advocacy and educational groups have taken their programs online, offering a range of seminars and study programs for those in lockdown.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man attends a computer course at a technical college in Jerusalem October 16, 2013. (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man attends a computer course at a technical college in Jerusalem October 16, 2013.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
Jewish educational organizations are making their content available online, helping people to learn about Judaism and support Israel during the coronavirus epidemic from the confines of their own home.
Pro-Israel organization StandWithUs has launched StandWithUsConnect, a new web portal offering seminars and high quality interactive content designed to educate people about Israel and fight antisemitism.
Live webinars will cover a range of topics from Israeli archaeology and Israel advocacy, to online yoga classes with an Israeli flavor. The program launches on Wednesday, March 18 with a seminar titled "Misconceptions about Israel, Zionism, and Jews," presented by StandWithUs's director of international student programs Charlotte Korchak.
The organization is also taking its in-person program online. Normally delivered live on school campuses and at community events by StandWithUs educators, people will instead be able to tap in to, or book interactive live sessions tailor made for local groups and audiences.
And for those who want to get out and about virtually while confined to their home, StandWithUs's director of tourism, Yoni Zierler, will be presenting live tours of prominent Israeli sites of interest.
Michael Dickson, StandWithUs Israel Executive Director said: “At StandWithUs, we were early adopters of social media and have always prided ourselves on creativity. Now circumstances demand us to be even more imaginative in the way we engage people with Israel. Our live briefings, panels, and Q & A’s with StandWithUs educators and prominent experts on Israel and fighting antisemitism, as well as our fun, interactive sessions are designed for youth, students and adults looking to learn more and participate in something meaningful from home.”
StandWithUs is also making a selection of its archived educational video resources and TV interviews available for for free on-demand. The content can be accessed at www.standwithusconnect.com.
Meanwhile, Hillel International, the largest Jewish student organization, is launching [email protected] to provide Jewish students with uninterupted access to Jewish learning and community life wherever they are, during this period of uncertainty.
The platform is centered around social and educational content such as video meetups, lectures by prominent speakers, and online courses. Local Hillel branches are also able to customize content for the students on their campus, which can then be disseminated to the whole community.
A number of prominent speakers have already been confirmed, including Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Comedy Central executive Tara Schuster, and six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, with more due to be announced in the coming days.
Topics are wide ranging; students will be able to take part in online classes on art and baking, among other skills, or can follow a live tour hosted by Hillels around the world for a behind-the-scenes look at Jewish life in cities such as Buenos Aires and Paris. Or they may wish to take part in the Jewish Learning Fellowship's 'Dibuk Chaverim,' coming together with students around the world to learn Torah and share stories. The site can be accessed at welcome.hillel.org/hillelathome/
“As our professionals and students adjust to a ‘new normal,’ we are committed to continuing to provide students the unique and meaningful experiences they count on from Hillel through our new [email protected] platform,” said Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International. “Offering live events, virtual travel, interactive learning and much more, [email protected] enables us to meet students where they are, and to ease the disruption and isolation they’re experiencing through compelling new forms of Jewish community experiences.”