Natasha Sarak, The Fed’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program co-ordinator, penned some thoughts on the challenges and successes of an online-only course for 2020…


“When I was asked to plan The Fed’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah programme for this year, I knew there would be a slim chance that we would be able to hold any meetings in person due to Covid.

Everything had to be planned for remote sessions, but sessions that would still include indirect interaction with our residents and service users: the aim of the programme is to highlight the importance of charity and giving back to our community – and to learn everything about what The Fed does.

It was important to me that there was the healthy balance of learning, reflection, fun and interactive engagement. The students received a pack of everything they would need for each session including a journal, worksheets, crafts, other specific activities – and an all-important Fed t-shirt!

 So far, the sessions have gone really well. We have had some guest speakers, including Fed director of Fundraising and Marketing Raphi Bloom, who gave an introduction to the 2020 intake about The Fed, and most recently one of our wonderful support workers, Zoe Guerrier, who explained to the groups all about The children’s centre and the incredible work that goes on there.

The students have thought up some fantastic ways in which to fundraise for us, and this week made personalised Chanukkah cards for our residents. Although they weren’t able to deliver them in person, they brought huge smiles to the faces of those who received them.

I hope by the end of the programme the students will be inspired by the work The Fed does and they will be aware of the importance of giving. More importantly, it is my hope that they will be able to use the knowledge they have gained and put it to good practise in our community as they venture into adulthood.

It hasn’t been the year any of us expected, but the future of our community is in good hands!”