"If you want your child to study Torah -- study Torah in front of them" taught the Kotzker Rebbe. My sister and I were lucky enough to grow up in a home where our parents were curious about Judaism. Their interest in learning helped make Jewish practice meaningful both for them and for us. My parents were guided by wonderful rabbis and educators who encouraged and supported them, pointing them to great resources and even creating those resources for them. I can still remember the voice of my 5th grade Hebrew teacher, Martha Posalski, ringing out from a cassette tape on which she had recorded the Shabbat blessings. That was how my family learned the Kiddush.
For more than 20 years, Beth Am has been a leader in family education programs, starting with Shabbaton -- the first family education program in a congregation that was an alternative to traditional religious school. Programs like Shabbaton are designed not only to teach children and support parents; they provide powerful Jewish experiences in which the whole family learns together and parents serve as Jewish role models for their children.
Family education programs offer the opportunity to be part of a warm, vibrant and supportive community. Both parents and children in our Shabbaton and Connections programs developed enduring friendships. Children grew up in a close-knit Jewish community. Adults spent time learning with our clergy, furthering their own Jewish journeys, and gaining a deeper sense of involvement in our congregation as a result. Many of our lay leaders over the years have emerged from our family education programs.
Last summer, I joined the Beth Am team to help create the next-generation family learning program at Beth Am. We immediately launched the Family Learning Task Force -- a group of creative, passionate and diverse Beth Am members including parents, teachers and teens. We've put together a program that draws from the best of Shabbaton and Connections, from programs all over the country, and from the desires of our families with young children. We are thrilled to announce our new family education program, opening this fall for families entering kindergarten (and their younger siblings).
We are thrilled to announce our new family education program, opening this fall for families entering kindergarten (and their younger siblings): Shabbat Together. Please help us spread the word about this exciting new program. Learn more at: www.betham.org/ShabbatTogether