Many people still speak of our program as a “Hebrew School” or “Religious School.” What we do in the Adat Shalom-Beth Achim Learning Community, however, is so much more than the traditional Hebrew school you may remember from your childhood.
We have three main goals for our program: to make Judaism accessible, meaningful, and relevant.
Accessible: We bring Jewish values to our students in language they understand. We celebrate holidays together. We learn Jewish texts in modern, grade-appropriate language. Each child learns Hebrew at his or her own pace. We all learn prayers by praying together and talking about prayer and God in our classrooms. We work closely with Opening the Doors, a project of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, that enables us to have a full inclusion program for students with special learning needs.
Meaningful: After we ensure that students have access to the material, we are then able to help them find personal and communal meaning in our shared history and culture, celebrations, language, and values. Through family programs and experiential education, concepts go beyond the textbook and become personal.
Relevant: It is not enough to make meaning. It is crucial that we help our students connect their Judaism to their everyday lives. We do not have Jewish lives and Everyday lives; rather, we live our secular lives Jewishly through our actions, beliefs, and values. We bring secular challenges to our Jewish lives as well, and together, especially in our upper grades, we learn to navigate the world together.
So, how do we know we are successful? As I walk the halls of our Learning Community, these are the kinds of questions and comments I hear:
“When God brought the plagues to the Egyptians, why did he make even the innocent people suffer? Was God wrong?”
“Does God hear my prayers? How do I know?”
“How do I stay Jewish and still go to my non-Jewish relatives’ and friends’ homes for Christmas and Easter?”
Accessible, meaningful, and relevant. Register your Pre-K through 7th grader now! Registration forms available on our website and in the office. New students always welcome.