Mensch Academy FAQs
We’ve adjusted to a Virtual Program to ensure safety, accessibility and consistency.
Have some questions? You came to the right place.
Read below for more information, or feel free to get in touch!
How did we make the decision to go virtual?
We believe that in order to live our values, we need to meet virtually. In doing so, we are able to meet the needs of all the members of our community, including immuno-compromised students and family members.
By creating an entirely safe and well-crafted virtual experience, we aim to allow families more space to make decisions regarding how and with whom they spend time in-person. We want to offer a robust, playful experience for our students and believe a strong virtual plan is our best way to do so.
Our primary objectives remain:
- Prioritize the health, safety and well-being of all members of our community
- Provide Mensch Academy kids with a nurturing and celebratory Jewish learning experience that upholds our authenticity and the core principles that shape Mensch Academy
- Create a safe and consistent space for Mensch Academy students to be brave, curious, and relational during uncertain times
Mensch Academy policy is based not only on the best educational and medical data available, but also on core Jewish values that guide us. When data is unavailable, ambiguous, or conflicting, values provide direction. The values that lie at the center of our work and animate everything we do are:
- Self-Expression Hineni – I am here
- Community – Kehilah
- Honor & Dignity – Kavod
- Joyful Inspiration – Ruchaniyut
What does a typical session look like?
A sample day at Virtual Mensch looks something like this:
4:00 — 4:15: Community Tefilah (Song and prayer). We gather as a community (kehilah) to welcome each other, and sing and pray together.
4:15: Zoom breakout rooms by age group
4:15 — 4:30: Welcomes, games, and check ins
4:30 — 4:45: Text study/Theme learning. This includes exploring Jewish ideas through music, art and dialogue. Mensch kids develop big questions and ideas that they express through designing and creating projects.
4:45 — 5:15: Exploration (Yitzirah)
5:15 — 5:30: Reflections, check outs, and close
5:30: Bye! See you next time! (l’hitraot).
Why are there multi-age groups?
Who are the teachers?
What have we already accomplished online?
When we moved Mensch Academy from in-person to virtual last March, we made a quick pivot and dove right into:
- Creative and playful zoom sessions
- Bi-weekly 1:1 meetings with kids and their facilitators to continue to build their relationships
- Fun virtual programs, like post-Passover Bagel Party, Half-time Fridays, and Monday Wind-Downs
- We marked the end of the year with an online showcase of our learning
- A vibrant and hugely successful 3-week virtual Mensch Camp in June
We prioritized strengthening our relationships and curriculum digitally, and learned that the Mensch experience truly happens wherever we are.
What is a responsive curriculum?
Why do kids attend once a week (K+)?
In order to truly create space where kids can feel vulnerable and open up to develop their own ideas, we need time to create a sense of community. In our experience, meeting once a week allows us to develop that communal trust that leads to deep learning and understanding.