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Tutoring in a Time of Crisis

Updated: Apr 10

On November 16, 40 days into the crisis in Israel, we came together for the second time as a community of connection and support and grappled with the question:

How does one tutor or mentor a student during a war?

As always with the English B'Yachad tutor community, creative, supportive and inspiring ideas were shared.

Listen First

It's the hardest of times in Israel. Tutor Larry F from Chicago says - first and foremost - Listen! He shared that even when calling close relatives in Israel, some days they are open to conversation; other times, not so much. So listen first and if your student is just not up to the scheduled session or just wants to say hi and then end the time together, that's ok for now!

Music and Poetry as conduits for connection

Art, poetry, and music can be wonderful channels to "being there" for a student, acknowledging the realities happening in Israel without focusing on the horrors, the politics, or the news. Two tutors shared great ideas for using the arts as a conduit for connection.

Tutor Sue D from New York City follows educational consultant Rachel Korazim.

In addition to workshops, Rachel's website features poetry about Israeli society including poems written during the current war - in both English and Hebrew.

Music is a soul-nourishing medium. Michele D from Calgary who follows the Israeli music scene closely shared a playlist of songs and videos created since the war began.

What's Happening Outside Israel - bringing the outside world in We hear over and over that Israelis are feeling isolated during these difficult times. Whether you can meet with your student or whether you are just reaching out to stay in contact, those communications are so valuable. As Tutor Markos from Seattle suggested, "keep in contact but don't expect your student to write back."

Some of our students are aware of attitudes and events related to Israel but outside Israel. Others less so. Sharing what's happening in your community or synagogue may be of interest, like for example, the Tuesday, November 14 March in Washington DC.

Future Orientation

If your student seems amenable, focus your sessions on the future. For example, Meryl G. from Denver, asked her student where she might want to travel someday and now they are "traveling" to destinations of interest to her student during their learning sessions together. Although that kind of session content may be less focused on professional vocabulary or goals, it's in English and is future-oriented. Looking beyond the daunting present to hopes and dreams can also be therapeutic.

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