So Much More Than Prayer!

If you attended Hebrew School as a child, you probably remember lots of memorization, learning what you were supposed to do, and what you were not supposed to do.  Well…Jewish Explorations is nothing like that!  Sure, we’re going to teach your kids to read Hebrew, learn what they need to as they get ready to become a Bnai Mitzvah…but we also teach them why it all matters, and how build a connection a Jewish education and today’s modern world.

We focus on the joy in Judaism!

Why do we call our children’s education program Jewish Explorations, and not Religious School? It’s simple…because we know that Jewish life offers so much more than religion. There’s language, music, food, literature, and most importantly…friends! And we don’t call it Hebrew School because we learn more than Hebrew. In fact, we don’t even call it school. For one thing, school is work for the kids, and we don’t want them working on Shabbat…we go for a different vibe…We explore! We explore how Judaism can help them grow into the amazing people they are already becoming. And along the way, we make connections that last a lifetime!

And those connections are one of the things we’re most proud of.  Over the years, so many of our kids have built friendships based on a common-Jewish-bond, that have lasted into their adult lives!  And we don’t just mean one or two, our past students have lots of stories to share!

So, if you’ve got children who are ready for Hebrew School or will be soon, let’s talk about Jewish Explorations.

Shalom, Current, New, and Potential Jewish Explorations families!

I’d like to share a few highlights about our curriculum. 

Our goal is to provide an experience that empowers our children, and gives them Jewish tools with real, lasting, life-relevance. So we focus on the children’s own (and sometimes their families) explorations of some “Essential Questions” to start forming their own answers. These Essential Questions are big things like “What does it mean that I’m a Jew?” or “What are the world-repairing things to do and how do I get myself to do them consistently?” Even deeper questions relating to the nature of reality and God and our place in the universe.

Our stories, texts, practices, research, etc. will be tools for the children to answer these questions for themselves, several times over, at ever deepening levels as they progress through the program.

Our Hebrew program is engaging, enduringly meaningful, and a lot of fun!  Hebrew can reinforce Jewish identity, facilitate communication with other Jews, and allow Judaism to serve as a tool as they develop their own world-view. One of the ways we do that is by giving students the ability to be comfortable in a mostly-Hebrew synagogue service, and to lead prayers and chant Torah and Haftarah as a bar/bat mitzvah.  The other way is by enabling the children to “speak a rich Heblish”, English with lots of Hebrew thrown in. To that end, we focus on building up a rich store of Hebrew through “Hebrew Through Movement”, song, and integrating Hebrew into the Essential Questions explorations and our everyday interactions.

Finally, a central aim of our program is building community among the children.

As we continue to innovate, we’ll always retain our cutting-edge commitments to progressive Judaism and pluralist appreciation of the breadth of Jewish civilization, empowering our children to use Judaism to become the incredible human beings they are becoming.

Rav Jeremy

p.s. We generally meet on Shabbat (Saturday) morning, and starting in 3rd grade on Wednesday afternoons, with adjustments for special events and holidays. Give us a call for more details.

Camp Havaya summer camp (formerly Camp JRF) is a joyful, creative, and inclusive Reconstructionist Jewish Summer Camp. Campers swim, play soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and other sports. They sing and explore other arts. They learn from visiting artists, scholars, as well from talented specialists and dedicated college-age counselors. Our campers make lasting friendships, experience a safe and fun summer, explore Jewish tradition, forge their own Jewish identity, and participate in creating a Jewish culture in which our values are lived each day.

Click Here to Learn More about Camp Havaya