Scholar in Residence program connects students to the Jewish community

by | Mar 11, 2016 | Other News

Last fall, Hebrew Academy instituted a Local Scholar in Residence program to enhance the Jewish education experience by connecting students to the broader Jewish community. Fifth graders enjoyed visits from local clergy who opened up these young minds with various thought-provoking Judaic lessons, broadening their perspectives and showed the diversity of the Tidewater Jewish community.

Rabbi Gershon Litt, Norfolk’s Kollel rabbi, used the movie Star Wars as a teachable moment to discuss the power of choice. Students analyzed the character Luke’s choice of using the force and not being afraid of the dark side. Then students discussed their daily choices as Jews to make the world a better place by improving themselves and their communities.

Cantor Elihu Flax of Beth Sholom Home spoke about cantorial life and how prayer tunes change between Shabbat and regular days. Flax showcased various cantorial styles and students listened and learned the different tunes.

Fifth graders enjoyed a visit from Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill of Tidewater Chavurah, who spoke about the splitting of the Red Sea and how accounts of miracles from the Torah can inspire.

Rabbi Aron Margolin of Norfolk Chabad, met with students about the story of Hanukkah, comparing and discussing the miracles of the battles and the miracles of the oil.

Beth El’s Rabbi Jeff Arnowitz met with students about Tu B’Shvat, teaching them about the various agricultural laws and how Tu B’Shvat has evolved over the years.

Hebrew Academy plans to continue the Scholar in Residence program, lending new opportunities for Jewish growth, learning and interaction by partnering with communal leaders.

Hebrew Academy is a constituent agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact admissions director Carin Simon at 424-4327 or

by Rabbi Yitzchak Menda, Hebrew Academy Judaic Studies director