Dear Rabby To The Rescue: Ten Ways to Make Your Zoom Bible Studies (and Services Too?) Better for EVERYONE!

July 17, 2020

Dear Rabby is the weekly advice column that comes with our Shabbat Home Discussion Guide, Shulchan Shelanu. In this recent letter, Rabby answers a letter about making on-line Zoom Bible Studies more effective. See if these suggestions work for you! And adapt them for use in your services too!

Check this out!

Dear Rabby,

Down where I live, we were hoping that this COVID-19 thing would last about three weeks. Well, that’s gone! We are going a little buggy conducting our services and Bible studies on line, using Zoom. We keep on losing our focus, sometimes things seem a bit chaotic, people speak out of turn, it’s a mess. Do you have any guidelines to help us make things better?

Agitated Annie

Dear Annie,  

It just so happens that I have some guidelines I use that seem to be working. Feel free to share these with others. In these, I refer to one’s Bible study teacher as a Facilitator. Here are the guidelines:

  1. Our Bible Study will be built up or torn down by your discipline in muting and unmuting yourself. Learn how to do it. 
  2. Your Facilitator will take pains to create windows of time for questions from group members. 
  3. You are asked to refrain from derailing momentum when your Facilitator says, “Now we are going to shift to X, or Do Y.” Asking your own question or making a side contribution at such a time derails momentum and that is not good.
  4. You are asked to track with the Bible study. We should be thinking together. This means that questions from the floor need to be related to what is  currently being discussed. It is almost NEVER good to bring in another text from another part of the Bible. Keep your finger on the text we are studying.
  5. If you miss some data that was mentioned DO NOT interrupt to ask to have it repeated EXCEPT if this is immediately after it is first said. Otherwise, please ask during one of the windows your Facilitator will open up. Do NOT interrupt what is going on to pull attention into your issue when it is not the issue being currently discussed.
  6. Harmless contributions outside of the text being discussed are seldom harmless. Restrain yourself.
  7. You are encouraged to use the CHAT mechanism as a means of registering your questions. Someone will be assigned to watch those, and perhaps bring them up during one of our open windows.
  8. Attacks on people, generalizations about groups, and political rants are not allowed. 
  9. There will be times when your Facilitator is aware of hot-button issues that are best not discussed because of what they will trigger for certain people known to him. At such times he reserves the right to divert the discussion and yes, to shut it down without having to explain why.
  10. Our goal is to leave each session more fully God’s servants than when we came in.

I hope this helps!

Pass it on!


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