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 unprecidented 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 embrace the fact that we had no control over our current situation, and the 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 celebration 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 Judiasm, in multiple forms, to families - that for whatever reasons – were distanced.
With the ability to use current technology such as Facebook Live, Zoom, Streaiming services, websites with archives, and other fomats, we can reach out to so many that need an alternative way to stay connected with Judiasm.
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 wer all in 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 login 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 login 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 thing it is going tomorrow. All of our efforts go into providing the 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 Judiasm. 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 Judiasm 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 it's 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.
Penny Goldstein D'Agostino, the CEO and Executive Director of ShalomAtHome.org has been a Cantorial Soloist, Choir Director, Educator and Youth Advisor in Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Synagogues since 1984.She has been a volunteer with The Jewish Pavilion of Central Florida – a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of residents in elder-care communities – for more than 12 years and has been its CFO and Managing Director for the last 6 years.
Marla Lindenbaum, Board of Directors and Content Advisor, has been a 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.