While most schools have the day off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Talmud Torah St. Paul is once again staying open to continue its tradition of using the day to teach about MLK.
“We always include the community and we’ve always had people come who aren’t Jewish but want to be involved in social justice and social action programming,” said Heidi Tarshish, the director of education at Talmud Torah of St. Paul.
The program in the morning, from 10:30-noon at Talmud Torah St. Paul (768 Hamline Ave. S.), is geared towards children ages pre-k and up with learning activities taught by Newman School teachers. Adults will have a separate program of anti-racism education led by Lauren Muscoplat of Jewish Community Action.
“It’s different programs for adults than kids,” Tarshish said. “Separate, but parallel. It’s the same theme and topic.”
Sharon Rosenberg-Scholl, who is the parent of a TTSP graduate and the director of the early childhood center at Temple Israel, has always looked for service activities the family can be a part of on MLK Day.
“When we have a day off for a purpose, I like to model what the day is for,” she said. “We always looked for different events of service. The entire building is closed at Temple Israel because it’s important, not so I could sit at home in my PJs. It’s been meaningful every time, and meets that need to use the time off meaningfully.”
In the afternoon, JCA will be presenting a seminar for educators on the themes of racial and economic justice, and how the themes can be effectively incorporated into classrooms.
“JCA is really excellent,” Tarshish said. “They have a pulse on what’s most current. We look to Lauren to give us a focus.
Tarshish said that parents have appreciated that the school is addressing the lessons of Dr. King – not just treating it as a day off.
“Obviously, we all know the world changes so rapidly and the needs are great and it is important that all of us are aware of the needs around us and what we can do to be global citizens,” she said. “We can all do something to help the community and make the world a little better.”