The Virtual Commons - Student & Jewish Life

The Virtual Commons are scheduled online activities, resource times,  and gatherings designed to help support students, foster community, and help us all build connections, no matter what mode we are operating in. To access the activities listed below, please check the Virtual Commons Resource board in the Portal for Zoom links.


Although “tefillah” is most popularly translated as “prayer” or “worship,” which it is in the Jewish tradition, tefillah is more literally defined as introspection and reflection. Understanding deeply the challenge of tefillah, our Rabbis emphasized engaging in tefillah within a community at fixed times. They recognized the power of tefillah to enhance the bonds of community, and for community to enhance the depth of tefillah. Tefillah is our daily space at JCHS for reflection, community, spirituality and ritual. JCHS is offering a variety of virtual Tefillah options (see below.) While we are in Campus Mode #4 (All-Out), Tefillah is strongly encouraged instead of mandatory. Students may join any Tefillah on any regular school day on Mondays - Thursday, from 8:15 - 8:45 am. Students may drop-in to any/all of these options, or switch daily, except for Chavurah (which requires advance sign-up, see below)  

Tefillah will begin Monday, August 24. Students should check the Virtual Commons Resource board in the Portal for Zoom links to join Tefillah each day. 

Here are the Tefillah options offered during Quarters 1 and 2:

Brain Games: Get mindful in the morning with brain games tefillah where we will be waking up with a logic puzzle, sudoku challenge, lateral thinking, or any number of other kinds of mental aerobics! 

Chavurah: Come together for personal sharing and group reflection. If you are someone who enjoys hearing about the personal experiences of others, this is a great place for you. (To hold a safe space for dialogue, students must make a commitment to participate during the full quarter

Journaling: We will spend time writing and sharing reflective journal entries in which we will explore our emotions, experiences, hopes, dreams, fears, and more! 

Mechitza Minyan: We’ll come together in community to daven (pray) the text of the tefillot as it fulfills one’s daily obligation to pray. We will not be reciting devarim shebikdusha (lit. “sacred rites”), that is those items omitted when a minyan (prayer quorum) is not physically present. Students will lead as pace setters. We’ll also share, learn about and discuss various aspects of tefilah. Instead of Torah reading, students will have chance to offer Divrei Torah on Mondays/Thursdays. 

Homework Cafe

Students can use these virtual spaces to do work for classes. It provides a more visible and social structure for independent work time. Students also can use these spaces for easy access to "group work space." These spaces will always be staffed by a JCHS faculty member, who can help answer questions and give guidance. At times when a student may be falling behind in work or missing deadlines, they may be asked to attend one of these spaces as a support structure. 

Students should check the Virtual Commons Resource board in the Portal for Zoom links. 


Posted Office Hours

All teachers will have posted office hours on Fridays and at least one other day after school between 3:30 and 4:30pm.  Outside of those times, students can meet with their teachers when they share a common free block or during club block. To make an appointment with a teacher during Posted Office Hours students should go to  the Posted Office Hours resource board on the JCHS Portal to view faculty appointment calendars. 

Flex 1 and 2

This time will include College Visits during Quarter 1, required class time for some AP classes in Quarters 2 and 4, and required Keystone sessions for 12th graders.  

Co-Curricular Activities 

Information about Co-Curricular Activities can be found on The Virtual Commons calendar. For descriptions and a list of Virtual PE Classes and Drama and Theater Tech Workshops, please visit those sections of "Our Plan 2020-21."


This time is required weekly for all students to meet in small groups (about 9-10 students) with a faculty facilitator to listen, share, offer support, have fun, and build relationships with each other in a social setting beyond the classroom. 

All School Programming 

This time is required weekly for Knesset (our student council) and the educators on the Student Life Team to engage students in creative, spirited, community-building programs, student announcements and shout-outs, celebration of students, as well as introducing guest speakers and programs to bring the outside world into JCHS. 
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
JCHS is grateful for generous operational, programmatic, and financial support from:
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.