FROM IDEA TO REALITY: THE EVOLUTION OF SHALOMATHOME.ORG
ShalomAtHome.org is a multi-generational online Synagogue and Jewish Learning Center. Our mission is to allow multi-generational Jewish worship and learning via an accessible, inclusive, online setting.
During the unprecedented days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned of the true importance of prayer, community, and tradition. These values were tested as we sheltered at home and isolated ourselves. We realized that there was a need to embrace and replace. We needed to embrace the fact that we had no control over our current situation, and we needed to replace what was no longer going to work for us with what was. We started seeing parents and adult children logging into streaming services online and celebrating the Sabbath together for the first time in years. We started seeing children attending classes online from home with great success. We started to see the benefits of being able to provide Judaism, in multiple forms, to families - that for whatever reasons – were distanced.
With the ability to use current technology such as Facebook Live, Zoom, Streaming services, websites with archives, and other formats, we can reach out to so many that need an alternative way to stay connected with Judaism.
Imagine you are a part of the sandwich generation. You have elderly parents that may live far from you, or be in an elder-care community. You have children that are away in college or are parents and have children of their own. When was the last time you were all in the temple together on a Friday night? In some cases, never. Now, you can start your evening off by logging into a community Sabbath dinner. People can talk about their traditions and see and speak to each other online. Some may even exchange a few recipes handed down through the generations. After dinner, everyone can log in to a Sabbath service. There will generally be Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist views expressed that will allow all aspects of the family to hear and relate to something that is touching to their soul. There will be traditional and modern music chanted. Everyone will learn something new and hear something they remember. On Saturday morning, those who prefer could log in to services as well. During the week, there would be a Sisterhood, A Men's Club, A Seniors Group, Classes, Bar or Bat Mitzvah training, Grief Support, Hebrew Lessons, Jewish Music classes and concerts, Special Needs classes and training, and numerous other interesting online offerings. You can take a class in Yiddish with your grandson and a class in Jewish cooking with your granddaughter. You and your Mother could play mah-jongg from 1500 miles away.
This is where the world is today and where we think it is going tomorrow. All of our efforts go into providing accessible, easy-to-use programming that will relate to many different individuals. We want there to be a way to enhance all of the reasons that we love Judaism. We want there to be a way to pass on the traditions that we love to future generations. One of the most special aspects of Judaism is that the Torah has not changed one bit in thousands of years. We need a way to maintain our heritage for the future.
Cantor Eric Lindenbaum, the creator of ShalomAtHome.org and its Religious and Educational Director, has been an officiant for over 40 years. He has been a Cantor in both Reform and Conservative Synagogues and has been in the Cooper City area of South Florida for more than 30 years.
Marla Lindenbaum, Executive Director of ShalomAtHome.org and Content Advisor, has been an integral part of ShalomAtHome.org since its inception. Her educational expertise, her skill and experience with working with special needs students, her numerous years as a religious educator, and her involvement as an active member of the Jewish Community, make her a vital part of the organization.