The Torah tells us to “teach [the commandments] diligently to your children.” This message is so important that we repeat these exact words from the Torah in our daily V’ahavta prayer. What does it mean to “teach [the commandments] diligently to your children”? And how do we begin such a big task?
There are so many ways inside and outside the synagogue walls to teach our children. Inside the synagogue, our children learn every week in the religious school. They also learn by attending services, participating in tikkun olam projects, being a member of the youth group and learning together with parents in family education. And sometimes parents learn through their children too! There is something for all of us to learn at the synagogue. Outside of the synagogue, we regularly impart values and lessons to our kids through our actions and shared values.
As we enter 2015, may we all find new ways to add Jewish education, formally or informally, to our lives. Perhaps attend a new worship service or adult education class, practice Hebrew with your child or discuss something new they have learned at religious school this month. Read a Jewish book together or watch a movie with a Jewish theme. There are limitless ways to explore your own personal Judaism and your family’s Judaism.
November was filled with ways to learn as children, adults, and families. The month started with the teachers learning together at the B’Yachad faculty meeting. It is so wonderful to have a community of teachers who learn together and teach each other. On Sunday, November 2, the Shalom group (Mrs. Swartz’s new students) participated in a family education program and created Shabbat Boxes with their parents. They were able to go home with a complete Shabbat set including Candle Sticks, Kiddush Cup, Challah Cover, Challah Board, Shabbat Candles, and the Shabbat Blessings. We hope they are able to use the set for years to come!
Sunday, November 9, was packed with fun and learning. The day began with an Open Parents Meeting with the B’Yachad Committee where parents came together to discuss the school. Following the meeting, the entire school community (parents and kids) came together for our second annual Jewish Camp Expo. Thank you to Michele Roy for organizing the event and to CJP for the grant that allows the school to focus time on the importance of Jewish summer camp. It was so great to hear from so many different camp representatives. Many students then stayed for the F.U.N. lunch complete with Pizza and “smornolis” (that is a cannoli made as a s’more). Lastly, children, teens and adults stayed to watch the movie “Bully.” Following the movie, the group discussed the movie using a Jewish lens. It was a great way to begin discussing the issue of bullying and what each of us can do to stop it.
On Sunday, November 16th the volunteers who are going to be assessing the students in Hebrew (with Mitkadem) met for the first time. They learned about the Hebrew program and what it means for a student to be able to move to the next level. They also began volunteering in November! Thank you to all the volunteers!
The month ended with a PJ Library program focused on Hanukkah! The children ages 2-5 learned about Hanukkah through stories, songs and crafts. Each child made a Hanukiah and a special mat to put the Hanukiah on, which includes all the blessings! What a fun morning!