Monday, November 2, 2015

Some November Updates

Please note: There is no Torah Chanting class on the 5th on account of my being at the URJ Biennial.

Snack:

There was some discussion on ‘to snack or not to snack,’ with some children coming home so sated that they were not hungry for dinner. The solution, keep snack simple.  A bag of chips, or pretzels, or popcorn should suffice for one class. We do not need multiple snacks, such as cheese, crackers, fruit and chips for each snack time.  Also, you do not need to send in drinks, we have a water fountain. If you want to send in fruit, please wash it in advance, and also make that the ONLY snack for the day. If you have a picky eater whom you know won’t eat anything, send him/her in with her/his own snack.  The sign up is at: http://templesinaischoolsnack.wikispaces.com/home and you must save your entry by clicking the save button on the top menu.

Tzedakah: Please send your child in each with either money or food which we donate to worthy causes
 
End time.  Please note that school ends at 6:15, regardless if there is an assembly, unless otherwise noted.  The only difference is that the students are in their classrooms rather than the sanctuary. Noted: Chanukah Party on Dec. 10th will have a 6:00 dismissal

This Friday at 5:30 is our popular Rock Shabbat.  I know some students need services hours so this is a great opportunity. 

We do not have school on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26


Looking ahead:  Start brushing off your favorite brisket recipe for the Great Brisket Bake-off on December 11th, and bring your menorahs for a congregational menorah lighting.


This Saturday is Tali BenDor’s first time leading our Tot Shabbat at 9:30, so those with young children please come out and support Tali. 


On Sunday, November 15th we have two events going on: 

for the little ones, there is Story Hour at 10:00

Also at 10 for the adults is the Global Day of Jewish Learning, you can read more about this in the upcoming weekly updates.

One last thing:

At Orientation this year we outlined the new, fun family education program this year: Jewish Game Night.  For those not in attendance, here’s the gist of it.

3 Holidays: Tu Bishvat, Purim, Passover

The Goal: Create a game on each holiday theme with other parents to be presented at each of the following Youth/Folk services
Feb. 5th (Tu Bishvat)
March 4th (Purim)
April 1st (Passover)

Your assignment: Select one of the holidays, sign up for it, attend the preliminary meeting, (Date TBD), and work on your ideas with the others in your group.

If you have not yet signed up, please sign up next time you’re in the building or email me which holiday you’d like (Tu Bishvat is looking a little needy).  If we don’t hear from you in the next two weeks, you’ll be assigned a holiday.


Friday, October 2, 2015

The School Year

Shalom Everyone,

With the holidays about to be behind us, (we do have Simchat Torah / Consecration services this Sunday at 7:00 p.m.) I thought now would be a great time to go over some of our school and Temple practices which some of you may or may not know.

Tzedakah:

Each week when students come we ask that they bring either money or food for Tzedakah


Shabbat Services:

In order to best learn to prayers for services, service attendance is suggested.  It is also a wonderful time for your family to have some spiritual time together.
Students in grades K-3 have a service attendance requirement of four times per year.
Students in grades 4-6 have a service attendance requirement of eight times per year.
Students in grade 7 or the year preceding their Bar/Bat Mitzvah have a service attendance requirement of 16 times per year.

We have a loose-leaf notebook in the black desk in the lobby.  Your child may sign in each time s/he attends a SHABBAT service.

Youth Service

This year the Youth Service has been combined with the Folk Service.  We encourage our youths to attend these family-friendly services.  Starting in January, each of the school classes with lead one of the Folk Services, along with our Folk Service leaders, and the families and Temple committees will work together to plan an international congregational dinner for afterwards.


CHAI SCHOOL starts October 8th.  All students in grades 8-12 are eligible.  Lots of fun courses for everyone.

Parent Group/B'Yachad

Did you know there's a new parent group meeting at Temple every two weeks?  These groups are being led by the Education Advisory Board, Patty Greenfield, Jan Orlansky and Deb Laskarzewski, and discussing topics of parental interest, Jewish interest, child-rearing and all sorts of other current issues affecting Jewish families.  Please feel free to join any time.

The Religious School has also purchased a Keurig Coffee Maker in the lobby so next time you're here, stay a while, have a cup of coffee or tea, relax, schmooze with other parents or just hang out and chat with me, Michael or Rabbi.

Catch-up School

Beginning Sunday, October 18 I will be holding Sunday morning catch-up school for students needing help in Hebrew.

Adult Education Beginning Hebrew Reading 

If you've wanted to learn to read Hebrew but afraid it's too hard, think again.  You'll be reading before you leave the first session.  Thursday evenings from 7-8:30, beginning October 22nd.

That's enough for now.  Have a wonderful fall and enjoy the beauteous nature God has set out for us in this corner of the world.


Monday, August 17, 2015

New School Year 2015-2016 / 5776

Shalom Mishpachot/Dear Families:


Even if I didn’t have a calendar I would know approximately what day it is by the number of inquiries I’m getting about “when is Religious School starting?”.


I can tell you.  I hesitate to name the date because on September 10th we are having an Open House.  When I say Open House many folks think (especially if you’re returnees) you don’t need to show up.  But you do, and here’s why.


We have a number of new programs this year that require explaining and signing up.  Without your being here, you will not know and/or understand what it is that we’re doing and even if I tell you, you will not grasp the entire scope.  So we are having school that night, just not regular classes, but you will have an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and hear about the new Temple programs.


Open House September 10th is from 5:00-6:00.


You asked, we listened.  Our four-year old parents had asked for more programming, on the same day as school, just not as long or as extensive.  So if you have, or know of, a four year old in the community, please let them know we are having a weekly one-hour group, on Thursday from 4:00-5:00.  For this group only membership is not required.


Some returning programs:  Sunday Morning Story Hour; Saturday Morning Tot Shabbat; Youth Services–but in a different format; Class Services–but in a different format.


Newish program that didn’t quite pan out last year: Own Your Own Holiday. So we’ve revived it and can’t wait to tell you all about it on September 10th, along with Folk/Youth Service/Committee partnerships.


Religious School Chair.  I think most of you know Patty Greenfield who has worn many hats here at Temple, most recently as Membership Chair.  We’re thrilled to say that after six years of serving in that capacity Patty is taking over as Religious School Chair and has been busily revitalizing the education programs along with me, Jan Orlansky, our VP of Education, Deb Laskarzewski, Board Member and… maybe you?  We are looking for parents to have input on the future direction of the Religious School. Talk to me or Patty to see how you can be a part of our success.


Another new date, particularly for parents of teens, is our Taste of Chai on September 24 from 6:15-7:00, where students will get a chance to meet with the Chai School teachers and see what the classes are being offered, thereby giving them an opportunity to sign up in advance of Chai School on October 8th.  


I’m looking forward to seeing returning and new faces at school this year.  B’Shalom,

Morah Judy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What's the most powerful form of Jewish education?

With school out for the summer, I thought this would be a great time to run this column to remind you of the vital role you play in your child's Jewish education. -- Judy



By Daniel Held for Canadian Jewish News

As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.

The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.

My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.

Continue reading.


As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf
As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf
As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf
As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpufvAs parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf
As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf
As parents make choices about their children’s education, I’m often asked what is the most powerful setting of Jewish learning. Weighing day schools and daycares, supplementary schools and Israel experiences, youth movements, camps, the March of the Living, Birthright Israel, Diller, synagogue programs, JCCs and the dozens of other options, parents want to know what experiences will guide their children toward lives imbued with Jewish meaning.
The question is reasonable and rooted in concern for our children’s Jewish future, but it’s also rooted in the belief that Jewish education and identity development lies in the hands of others and not our own. That’s not the case.
My response to these parents is that the most powerful setting of Jewish learning is the home. The character of a family’s Jewish life is the most important predictor of a child’s future Jewish life. Parents’ modelling of Jewish living – in their own actions and in their decisions for their children – is a key ingredient in forming strong Jewish identities. The decisions to go together to synagogue, celebrate Shabbat, give tzedakah, and generally make Jewish decisions have a profound impact on the ways that children think about Judaism.
What’s more, Jewish education – even in its most robust forms in Jewish day schools and other immersive environments – cannot stand alone. While a child may be able to master math or science, reading or geography in school without outside support, the same is not true for Jewish education. If learning is not reinforced at home, it loses its relevance to, and resilience in, a child’s life.
There is no one-stop shop for Jewish learning. No one setting of education – not matter how strong – can be expected to stand on its own. Rather, the most powerful form of Jewish education is a cocktail of educative experiences.
Some time ago, I visited a synagogue which had an open playroom, but no educational children’s program on Shabbat morning. When I asked why, I was told that the vast majority of children in the shul are day school students, so they don’t need Jewish education on Shabbat. I’ve heard similar stories of families who say that their child “gets Jewish” throughout the year, so they take the summer off to go to a non-Jewish camp. This thinking places an unfair burden on the school. No one setting of Jewish education is the panacea. When a child has multiple touch points, with different curricula, different modalities of teaching, and, most importantly, different teachers and role models, the impact on his Jewish identity is multiplied.
Finally, in making decisions about our children’s Jewish education, we must realize that it’s not about one time in their lives. I’ve been asked when is the time to send a child to Jewish educational programs. Some would like to say that preschool gives the necessary grounding. Others argue that Jewish education up to bar mitzvah provides the basic literacy a child needs to participate in Jewish life, while still others argue that high school is the crucial period of identity formation.
These views are shortsighted. Jewish learning, to have a true impact on one’s life, has to be lifelong. It begins at birth, when we read stories about Shabbat, the holidays and tzedakah and continues throughout life into adulthood.
The question of what is the most powerful form of Jewish education comes from a place of love and commitment to our children. The answer, however, is not as simple as selecting from a list of A, B or C, rather, it’s D, all of the above. One researcher coined the phrase “the more the more” – the more time, the more touch points, the more role models a child is exposed to, the more her Jewish identity and commitment will grow.
Daniel Held is executive director of the Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
- See more at: http://www.cjnews.com/index.php?q=node/139611#sthash.oR0F93Sk.dpuf

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How do you measure success?

Henry Ford: While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn't an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded the successful Ford Motor Company.

R. H. Macy: Most people are familiar with this large department store chain, but Macy didn't always have it easy. Macy started seven failed business before finally hitting big with his store in New York City.

F. W. Woolworth: Some may not know this name today, but Woolworth was once one of the biggest names in department stores in the U.S. Before starting his own business, young Woolworth worked at a dry goods store and was not allowed to wait on customers because his boss said he lacked the sense needed to do so.

I bring these men up because we began a project this year at school under the supervision of Patty Greenfield, called, "Own Your Own Holiday."  The idea was to have one or several classes join together to educate the Temple community at large about a given holiday.  Additionally, we thought it would be a great way to build community and for parents to get to know one another.

Tu Bishvat
Our first holiday was Tu Bishvat.  After a slow start the parents in the classes involved did a wonderful job of putting on a Tu Bishvat oneg with stunning signs and tables of the various fruits and their meanings. The students in the class did a great job of presenting what the holiday was about and how the fruits were chosen.

Purim
The next holiday was to be Purim.  Patty called several meetings only to have no one show up and when one or two did, she met much resistance.  Without any cooperation, nothing came of this.  The combination of being disheartened and being involved in the other Purim events zapped a lot of momentum and thus when it came to Passover preparation, that just did not happen.

Where do we go from here?

Great question.  What we'd like to know is: is there still interest on the part of parents to move ahead with this or might you have suggestions on how to accomplish these goals?

Is anyone interested in doing a Shavuot BLINTZ-krieg?  On Shavuot it is customary to stay up all night studying and to eat dairy foods, especially popular are blintzes and cheesecake.  Shavuot is Saturday night, May 23rd.  If this is something in which you would be interested in participating and/or help planning, let me know.

We need you.  We need your input, your feedback, your advice and your participation.

B'Shalom,
Morah Judy

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Five Tips For a Better Passover Seder!

The following was reprinted from: , Jew in the City

The Seder is a wonderful experience but it can be far more fulfilling if the leader understands what he’s doing and if all members of the family and guests are involved. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Seder:

1. Do your homework. If you were giving a speech at work, wouldn’t you take the time to review your material? Wouldn’t you try to anticipate questions so that you could answer them? There’s no reason the Seder should be any different! Look through several Haggadahs and select one that works for you.  (We asked around for recommendations for some Haggadahs that are both filled with deep ideas and suitable even for beginners. We were told that the most popular ones in this category are by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Avraham Twerski, and ArtScroll.)  Take the time to prepare some comments and divrei Torah based on the traditional commentaries – it goes a long way towards making the Haggadah more relevant! You can also use this helpful seder guide we found to supplement your Haggadah.

2. Don’t go it alone. There will be other people at your Seder, so why should the leader do absolutely everything? Getting others involved not only takes work off the leader’s shoulders, it engages the participants and is more interesting for everybody. Take turns reading and ask others to prepare divrei Torah in advance.

3. Encourage questions. The Talmud repeatedly tells us that the reason we do certain things at the Seder is “so the children will ask.” It’s not a race to get to the end of the book, it’s an opportunity to have a meaningful experience, so slow it down and take the time to talk about the things that the Haggadah says. (Some sample questions appear below.)

4. Use your skills. We each have unique talents and strengths – put yours to work making the Seder come alive. Are you a gifted singer? A master storyteller? An aspiring comedian? The Haggadah is not just the words on the page! Use your unique capabilities at appropriate times to make your Seder a personalized experience.

5. Eat something in advance. The famous “fifth question” of the Seder is “when do we eat?” It takes a while to get to the meal and people can get a little impatient. That’s not good for one’s ability to enjoy the Seder. Yes, the afternoon before Passover is hectic, but everyone will appreciate the Seder more if they take a break to eat something so they’re not famished at Seder time.

Four (More) Questions


What’s the difference between the wise son and the wicked son? 
The wicked son is criticized for saying “you,” thereby excluding himself from the group – but the wise son also says “you!” Why is he not likewise chastised? The reason is that the wise son’s question includes the words “Hashem our God.” We see from his choice of words that, unlike the wicked son, he still views himself as a part of the community.

What’s this chazeres stuff?
The Seder plate has a spot for maror – the bitter herbs – and a spot for chazeres – which is just more bitter herbs (typically romaine lettuce)! This is because maror is eaten twice during the course of the Seder. The Jerusalem Talmud explains “chazeres” as a vegetable that starts out sweet and turns bitter. This is symbolic of the Jews’ lives in Egypt, which started out well when Joseph was alive but then turned bitter with their servitude to Pharaoh.

Why would it have been enough?
The song “Dayeinu” is confusing. If God had brought us to Mount Sinai but not given us the Torah, it would have been enough? If He had not brought us into Israel, it would have been enough? Why would it have been enough to not receive the most essential things in Judaism? Actually, Dayeinu is the introduction to the psalms of praise we call Hallel. The intention of Dayeinu is to say, “Even if God had only done this, it would have been enough reason for us to sing the following songs of praise,” not to downplay our appreciation for any of God’s gifts.

Why is Pharaoh held responsible if God “hardened his heart?”
If you got a shock every time you reached for the light switch on Friday night, you’d eventually stop trying to turn on the lights. But doing so wouldn’t really be your choice! If you could ignore the shock, you might still turn on the lights. That’s what “hardening Pharaoh’s heart” means.” Pharaoh repeatedly said he would release the Jews because he was coerced by the plagues. What God did was He restored Pharaoh’s resolve. He gave Pharaoh the ability to withstand the plagues and do what he really wanted to do. Pharaoh is responsible because God “hardened his heart,” not  despite it!

Some further Passover reading on Jew in the City:
In the Haggadah we say “in every generation they rise against us to destroy us…and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.  How can the haggadah conclude the verse with this claim?  Haven’t we repeatedly not been saved?

We thank God for freeing us from slavery, but wasn’t He the One that put us there in the first place?

Why did He do it?!
Why does matza contain the secret to financial freedom?

What can we learn from matza in order to stop being so lazy?