An alternative style Jewish education program for unaffiliated families.
Tell me briefly about your program
Sure! After spending years as a layleader and educator in a popular West Broward synagogue, I began to see how ineffective today’s synagogue programs are. Also, in the last 3 years, I have seen families by the dozens choosing to leave synagogues, leaving them without options for educating their children. I knew there was a need for an education program that
1) Engaged and interested students
2) Provided flexible schedules that complimented a busy lifestyle
3) Focused on a core curriculum of Mitzvoth, Ethics, Prayer, and building a relationship with G-d.
I decided to create small groups of children that would encourage dialogue and interaction, enhancing the learning experience, engaging family members, and overall – making Hebrew/Jewish education FUN!
Sounds AMAZING! How do you do that?
Well, class sizes are typically 8-12 students. I can place your student in an existing group, or you can form your own group with a minimum of 8 students, and we meet in rotating families’ homes, or in clubhouses of your community. The small group size fosters a full 1.25 hour session of engaged Jewish learning and sharing through dialogue, crafts, video, cooking, and role-play. I have every student’s attention for the full class period, and learning is exponentially greater than a typical Hebrew school class. I found that in Hebrew School, a teacher spent 80% of their time quieting a class, and 20% teaching. I am able to utilize a full 95-100% of my class time teaching, and engaging my students.
Can you be more specific about your curriculum?
Sure. Classes are broken down into 2 semesters. Class meets every other week, so we have 10-12 classes per semester, 22 in total. Classes generally focus on one area (Holidays, Mitzvoth, Prayer, Torah, Cooking), but often we combine topics, so as to reinforce how all of these things must be balanced in our daily lives. Students are provided a safe space for sharing, as they are required to make a pledge of respect, and consideration to others in the classroom. Everyone has an opportunity to share and contribute, and students feel important to the process.
- Our cooking classes celebrate the foods of Hanukkah (latkes), Purim (Hamentashen), Passover (charoset, matzoh clusters, etc.) and a Challah-day (holiday). We also have a Tu B’Shevat Seder (festival of the trees).
- Mitzvot classes focus on the teachings of the Torah regarding the 10 Commandments, and other worldy mitzvoth such as Acts of love and kindness, praying with sincerity, Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), and many more.
- Holidays cover the major holidays, history, their foods, Biblical characters, and cultural inclusion in our lives today.
- Prayer – students not only learn to recite our most important prayers, but more importantly, learn what they mean, and how they are relevant to our lives. We spend a great deal of time applying the teachings of prayer to our lives.
- G-d – When do you recall being taught HOW to pray to G-d? How does prayer work? How do you build a relationship with G-d? I work diligently to help my students form that relationship, with the understanding that as they embark on their teen years, they will need that relationship more than ever, to help them make positive choices for their lives.
Your program sounds AWESOME! What is the cost?
The cost of the program is $350 per semester, with 2 semesters per year. In addition, there is a $60 activity fee, so that I do not have to constantly ask for parental contribution. Also, once your child is enrolled, you lock in the current year’s price, protecting you from future price increases for 3 years.
How does your Cantor’s Kids program work in conjunction with your Bar/Bat Mitzvah program?
It’s a lead in – not an either-or. CK classes continue through 6th grade, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah typically occurs in 7th. Therefore, depending on your child’s knowledge of the prayer and Hebrew they will be required to know for their individual BB experience, they may begin their one-on-one program during their 6th grade year in conjunction with the CK program. Individual Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs are priced separately – and prices depend on the # of classes, and style of private tutoring to reach a family’s goal. Please inquire separately on Bar/Bat Mitzvah programs.
Sounds like a great experience! What else will my child do?
We will learn music and songs, and travel to a nursing home once/twice a school year to provide my elderly patients an opportunity to be uplifted by Jewish song. We also take a field trip day for the 5th/6th grade to the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial, and have a family picnic at a beautiful park that day. Many other options exist for creative planning of events – just let me know what you’d like to do – and we’ll plan it!
Do you teach every class?
Well, up until this year – yes – however, until I figure out how to clone myself, I cannot be in so many places at once. So, through my many years in Jewish education, I have sought out other educators that share my passion for teaching children, and my skill for connecting with them, and inspiring them to their highest capacity of Jewish learning. I currently teach 7 classes myself, but this year have begun incorporating my other teachers in as substitutes, and future enrollment will have an opportunity to experience a small variety of teachers, including myself.
When do classes meet?
Typically, 5th/6th grade classes meet on alternating Sunday mornings, at 9:30 and 11 a.m. 3rd/4th, or 4th/5th grade combo classes meet on Tues, Wed., or Thurs at 3:15, and 5pm. (Alternating weeks)
I’m excited about this program! How do I sign up? When do the next classes begin?
Our first semester is under way, and closed to new students. We begin our next semester on January 2nd, 2011. The 2011 roster is closed for many groups, but with a minimum of 5 students, we will open a new group spot. Book your spaces early with a $200 deposit for 2012! It’s going to be a popular year!