The Goal of Jewish Education

by Arliene Botnick, September 25, 2016

Each Sunday, and for grades 4 through 8, each Tuesday, our kids head off to Bet Sefer Solel. We teach about Jewish holidays, life cycle events, Jewish heroes, history, Torah texts.

Our kids are learning how to read and basically understand Hebrew. We sing Jewish/Hebrew songs with them, have them meet as a Kehillah (community) for 15 minutes a morning to participate in a mini-service.

During their classes, they create Jewish artifacts such as challah covers or Hebrew name stained glass wall hangings. They are given the chance to question and debate, absorb and understand as much Jewish learning as we can give them in the time we have.

All of the above is vital to “Jewish Education”. But I’d like to suggest one other goal. And perhaps the better word for this goal is not education, rather it is enculturation. We want (and I’m pretty sure you as parents want) the kids to feel Jewish, to be comfortable being Jewish, to be proud that they are Jewish. All of that involves information and facts and knowledge, but it also involves Jewish friends, Jewish celebrations with family and community and enthusiasm about Jewish life cycles.

At Bet Sefer Solel, we are successful at both education and enculturation. The proof is the retention of students, who, even when they are finished our formal school programme, return to help, tutor, assist.

Every grade up to and including Grade 6 at Bet Sefer Solel has volunteer teens coming back to help teach the next generation of Jews. Our Bar/Bat mitzvah tutoring is enriched by our teen tutors (and of course adult tutors). These are all members of our community that want to give back to and nurture Bet Sefer Solel.

We are blessed because we have fulfilled the goal of Jewish education – “You shall teach your child diligently” (Deuteronomy 6:7)

V’Shinantam L’vanecha

Shana Tovah Umtukah to all

Filed under: Educator's Message

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