Updated: Sep 18
By Raphael Englander
School News Editor
The whole world was affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus. One instance of this devastating effect hit close to the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy community, being the seniors’ plans for how to fulfill their required community service. Due to quarantine, many of Barrack’s seniors had to change their plans for senior service, and JBHA acknowledged the difficulties of completing all of the service hours during a pandemic. “Instead of requiring 90 hours, they [had] people [do a] ‘do-what-they-can’ type of thing,” said Helen Rudoler ‘20.
A few students were planning to travel to Israel with Ofanim, an organization that endeavors to bring high-quality education to all children in Israel. Others thought they would be volunteering at the Hebrew Charter School. However, coronavirus made these projects impossible. Nevertheless, seniors still found ways to make meaningful impacts.
According to Rav Will, “Some of those students were able to plug into amazing new opportunities that supported needs that arose from corona, and other students found other new opportunities online.” Many seniors chose to help the school, whether by offering writing advice to students, keeping Math Tutoring Center up and running, or giving JBHA’s administrative office a hand. Other seniors pivoted to become involved with organizations outside of school, like Bundle Breaks, an online tutoring program for children.
Although the seniors did a great job to adapt in this bizarre time, there was much downside to having to change their plans for their community service. Rivkah Wyner ‘20 said, “I spent a lot of time picking my original community service project because I wanted it to be something I really cared about and enjoyed, so it was hard to adjust my expectations in light of this situation.” Many of the seniors felt the same way, as it was much harder to fulfill the hours and they were less emotionally attached to their new projects. It was disappointing to not be able to do the projects they so carefully picked out and had been anticipating. That is also without mentioning the letdowns of not being able to experience hallmarks of the end of senior year like senior prom, their last performance of a JBHA musical, their last season of spring sports, graduation, etc.
All that being said, the Barrack seniors worked hard to meet their hours. It is easy to look at this in a negative light, to think about what could have been. However, there is also a bright side. More than ever, people needed help, and so the seniors had many opportunities to better the community. A pandemic was the perfect time for the seniors to do their community service, as people everywhere were struggling with social-distancing and a new way of life. The entire Barrack kehillah is proud of the amazing jobs its seniors did.