However, I am happy to share a true success at finding an authentic audience. My colleague Simcha Schaum (@simchaschaum) conducted a project last spring with his 6th grade class where he asked them to learn material relating to some of the seasonal changes made in the prayers. He charged the students with creating bookmarks that theoretically could be handed out in shuls (synagogues) so that people would know what changes to make when, and what to do if they made a mistake. Rabbi Schaum had a couple of local Rabbis come to class so the students could present their bookmarks, and the project concluded with some very wonderful presentations and some very gracious Rabbis.
However, the project did not conclude there. This past week on the Jewish calendar was one of the times when changes are made to the prayers. And a day or two later, Rabbi Schaum received the following email from one of the Rabbis who visited his class back in May:
The "pretend" authentic audience, which at the time was sufficient to motivate the students to complete their projects, has successfully become a real authentic audience! While not every project meets with such success, it is inspiring to know that our audience is out there - we just have to set the wheels in motion so that we can find them.Hi Rabbi Schaum,As [you may have heard], the bookmarks were a huge hit in shul on Shmini Atzeres. I distributed them (and explained where they came from) and went over the related halachos [laws] before Musaf, and that was the heads-up to begin saying Mashiv Haruach. Everyone has been using the bookmarks to remind themselves to say Mashiv Haruach and enjoying them.Yasher Koach [kudos] to you and the students, and thank you!Wishing you much hatzlacha [success] this year,