As summer winds down and thoughts turn to back to school, I begin receiving calls from parents asking when to enroll their child in Hebrew School and how long it takes to prepare their child for his or her Bar or Bat Mitzvah. My answer – it takes 10 minutes.
If the goal is to simply prepare children for this important event in their lives, we can teach them to read the blessing in about 10 minutes. But, if the goal is to teach them what it means to be a Jew and to have a strong Jewish identity and commitment; that takes a lifetime of learning, and it is never too early to start.
When a child wants to be a good soccer player, we take him or her to soccer practice. Hebrew School is life’s practice. It is the beginning of developing a love of Judaism and a thirst for knowledge that starts at a young age and lasts forever.
The benefits of attending Hebrew School go far beyond learning about the Jewish roots and practices. Religious school lays a strong foundation and teaches morals, values and ethics not taught in secular education.
The Sholem Epelbaum Chabad Hebrew School at Chabad of Kendall/Pinecrest begins on Sunday, Sept. 9. Our school’s mission is to teach Jewish children in our community to feel pride in their heritage, traditions and customs. The Sunday morning classes for children ages 4-13 are not like typical classrooms with textbooks, workbooks and lots of “seat time.” Through active learning, the five senses are engaged. Students smell and taste traditional Jewish foods. They create models and art projects. They role play, read aloud and sing songs to learn about Jewish customs.
Under the direction of Nechama Harlig, our caring and dynamic teachers are committed to creating a joyous atmosphere for our young students. Through their creative lessons and enthusiastic approach, every lesson becomes a unique learning experience for our students as they explore their Jewish identity in a most meaningful and relevant manner.
Hands-on lessons during Jewish holidays will help children have a deeper understanding of each holiday and its traditions and customs. From Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays through the holiday of Shavuot, the calendar will be full of holiday celebrations and events for children and their families.
Our Aleph Champ Reading Program helps motivate our students to advance and improve their fluency in Hebrew reading. Like karate, Aleph Champ awards students with different color belts when they advance to the next reading level. Every student starts at the beginning level of white belt and as they progress at their own pace, they advance to the next level.
Each year, I see the roots of this strong love of being Jewish in the students at Hebrew School. As the children learn to read and pray in Hebrew, celebrate the Jewish holidays together and learn from the Torah, they become immersed in a loving Jewish atmosphere. They will be able to draw on the knowledge and the memories they are gaining all of their lives.
For more information, go to <www.chabadofkendall.org>, visit us at 8700 SW 112 St. or call 305-234-5654.