Chestnut Ridge, NY
Jewish studies is a pivotal part in the process of establishing Jewish identity and finding Jewish community. From early childhood, Jewish studies plays a major role in transmitting Hebrew language, Jewish traditions, ceremonial and holiday skills, and foundational Jewish stories to the learner. For pre-teens, Jewish studies serves as preparation for Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah as children prepare to be initiated into the adult Jewish community. And then after their initiation Sunday
Jewish Studies – A Lifetime of Wonder
Sunday school Jewish studies can begin as early as the child reaches the age of one year old. Jewish studies at the tender ages of 1-6, children can absorb a great deal experientially from exposure to Jewish life and celebration. The children and their families are encouraged to participate in creative and experiential Jewish studies where Shabbat and holiday stories and practices are explored. The activities in Jewish studies of this type are designed for a younger age bracket, allowing the students to experience the spirit of Jewish life with all their senses – smell, taste and touch through activities such as Hallah baking, singing songs and blessings, candle lighting and crafts. Sunday school Jewish studies, at this age, is all about absorption of the spirit of the holydays and Shabbat, and an early introduction to Jewish story telling. The Tinokot (Babies) Jewish studies Circle is designed specifically for children at this age.
Older children, between the second and fifth grade are welcome to join the Nitzanim (buds) Jewish studies Circle. These Jewish studies Circles are designed for a beginner level – learning the foundations of Hebrew reading skills, basic prayer skills as well as strengthening the connection through Shabbat and holiday observance, storytelling and Judaica.
As trees grow, so do children, and from buds they blossom into treetops. In the Amirim (treetops) Jewish studies Circle the children get ready for their initiation into adulthood via the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.
Jewish Sunday school continues after the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremonies with the Nesharim (eagles) Jewish studies Circle. Individual areas are targeted for further exploration and a series of teen life-cycle ceremonies are held to celebrate coming of age milestones in a Jewish context.
Jewish studies Learning Circles are held not just for children but for adults as well, from beginners' level to exploration of different aspects of Judaism – Storytelling skills, The Mystery of the Hebrew Alef-Bet or studies of the mystical philosophy of the early Hasidim in the class titled Besht Learning.
Jewish Studies from a Practical Point of View
Jewish studies can be held in many different formats. Jewish studies in the New York are proper can be held as private mentoring sessions. Private mentoring best serves the specific needs of some students. Private mentoring is also an integral part of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah curriculum. Jewish Studies can also be delivered as a Jewish Studies Circle or a Learning Circle – an group of families or young students that meet on a regular basis in one of the families homes.
Jewish studies with the Hebrew Learning Circles held in the home offer a number of advantages. To name a few, the comfortable home atmosphere, the small group and the highly skilled instruction. The Jewish studies Circles are independent of one another and are therefore enjoy scheduling flexibility regarding meeting times and length of each Jewish studies session instead of depending on a central school calendar.
Students who reside in remote geographic locations with no Jewish community around and no access to Jewish studies educational resources, or students residing in the west coast planning to celebrate their Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony on the East coast, or students on a trip - cannot benefit from Jewish studies in New York proper. For these students another option is available – that of Jewish studies by remote tutoring using video conferencing. With the help of modern technology, students all over the globe can benefit from Hebrew Learning Circles’ superb curriculum and engaging educational approach to Jewish studies via means such as Skype, AIM or iChat.