Our tradition (Talmud Yoma 35) tells a wonderful story about Hillel’s experiences as a young learner. In his time, there was a daily entrance fee to learn Torah in the house of study. One frosty winter day, Hillel did not have enough money to pay the fee, and so he climbed onto the roof of the building to listen to the Torah being taught below. He stayed all night and by the morning, he was covered in a deep drift of snow.
The unprecedented efforts to minimize the spread of the coronavirus have closed houses of study worldwide, including our Melton classrooms. Protecting the health of our learners and of the communities around us is of utmost importance and so we support these efforts absolutely. Thankfully, we live during a time when we are able to offer online Melton learning so no one is left out in the cold.
We are currently working with our local site directors and faculty to offer training in online teaching. We know our Melton educators will do all they can to ensure that the virtual experience represents the high-quality learning and sense of community that are the hallmarks of the Melton experience.
In addition, through our central office, Melton is offering a series of new online learning opportunities at no cost. These courses are at a variety of different times, in an effort to open our virtual house of study to each and every Melton learner.
In closing, we want to offer a familiar teaching in hope that it can provide strength to all of us as we are asked to adopt significant lifestyle changes in order to hopefully curtail the spread of the virus:
The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5) teaches:
Humankind began with the creation of one human being only to teach that any person who causes a single life to perish from the world, that person is deemed by Scripture to have caused a whole world to perish; and anyone who saves a single soul, that person is deemed by Scripture to have saved an entire world.
It is quite possible that the growing restrictions being placed upon us at this time may very well translate into the saving of even one human life – and thus, the saving of an entire world.
May we all find the strength to do our part to save lives, to save worlds.
We join together with our synagogues, JCCs, Jewish Federations, and other partners across the world in praying for the health and safety of all of our Melton communities and their families.
We hope to learn with you online in the coming weeks.
With blessings of peace,
Rabbi Dr. Morey Schwartz
Rabbi Rachel Bovitz