A second meeting this week of those who have volunteered to help with the proposed Beit Emanuel Community Hub, came up with some more concrete suggestions.
Skills development for teachers. Our community includes many teachers, ex-teachers and lecturers in the Education Department at Wits, whose knowledge could be tapped to provide skills development for teachers. One example, suggested by Karen Lazar, is the English set books for the IEB matric syllabus, which have changed this year. Many teachers are likely to need help with the new books.
A proposal will be developed to present to the Catholic Schools, who reach many underprivileged children and who have already expressed some interest. The idea has the potential to be taken much wider, to include skills training in fields like maths and science. Courses can also be offered to state school teachers. Anyone who has an interest in this, or has further suggestions, should contact Diane Fine at [email protected]
Peace Cluster. A number of groups around the world have specialised in conflict resolution or peace programmes. Beit Emanuel could link up with such groups, which use Internet technology such as webinars to communicate globally. A related topic was to join existing interdenominational programmes around ethics, with Beit Emanuel offering to discuss Progressive Jewish ethics. Mike Nulty will explore the issue further in the New Year.
Mind Body Cluster. This will incorporate yoga and tai chi, activities which are already offered at Beit Emanuel, and be expanded to other, related activities. An occupational therapist has volunteered one morning a week to run activities for older congregants around maintaining and improving intellectual flexibility. Ray Sher has offered a discussion group about finding meaning in later life and retirement. We can also look at extending this to include psycho-educational activities.
Activity Cluster. Making more frequent use of the Slome Auditorium or the Courtyard for small concerts, plays, or other events hosted and organised by outside third parties. The successful use of the Slome for last week’s Israeli play, and for an American Jewish choir earlier in the year, are examples of this.
It was agreed that the biggest challenge the community hub faces is marketing, always a weakness at Beit Emanuel. Success requires that the hub become widely known beyond our own community. Those who have the expertise to help with marketing, using both traditional and social media, would be most welcome. Once again, please contact Diane Fine at [email protected]