Introducing: Beth Abraham’s GOAL! Program
Go Out And Learn!
Beth Abraham’s GOAL! Program Goes Online
Due to the uncertainties that the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on every aspect of our lives, it has been deemed prudent to move our Jewish educational learning program for children to an exclusively online program for at least the first half of the 2020-2021 school year. We will meet primarily on Sunday mornings, using Zoom, for approximately one and a quarter hour from 10:00-11:15AM. Additionally, children in grades 3-7 will be scheduled for a short Hebrew tutoring session during the week with Cantor Raizen for a one-on-one lesson.
We are excited to be introducing a brand new curriculum from the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland that has been written in response to the pandemic, utilizing Jewish values that complement five caregiving principles that support recovery for those that experience trauma, such as the challenges emanating from the pandemic. They have named this curriculum “La’bri-ut: To Our Health and Wellness.” Each of the five modules aligns with one Jewish value and one caregiving principle.
1. Sukkat Shalom (shelter of peace) – A sense of safety
2. Ometz Lev (inner strength) – A sense of calm
3. G’vurah (courage) – Self- and communal-efficacy
4. K’hillah (community) – Social connectedness
5. Hesed (loving kindness) – Hope attained by reaching out to assist others
In addition to this curriculum, we will continue to teach Torah, holidays and prayer. We are also working on offering virtual holiday experiences for the High Holidays and more. If, at some point during the year, it is deemed safe for us to return to in-person learning, we would gladly do so. But, for now, we will see each other on screen. The school year will begin on Sunday, August 23. Please fill out and return a registration form (available on the website). The tentative calendar for the year can also be found on the website. If you have any questions, please contact Cantor Raizen at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Led by our Cantor and Education Director, Andrea Raizen, our religious school educational program for children and families, GOAL!, is based on a phrase from the Passover Haggadah that introduces the Maggid section: צֵא וּלְמַד (Tzei Ulmad) – Go Out And Learn. What were the rabbis trying to teach us? “Yes, you can sit in a classroom, read, discuss and learn from others. But if you really want to learn, if you really want to see what is happening in the world, you must ‘go out and learn.’ You must get up and go out and experience life yourself, see it with your eyes and feel it so that it becomes instilled deep within your bones.” (Natalie Gerber)
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Research has shown that Hebrew learning in part-time synagogue programs has become less effective in the past several years. #OnwardHebrew is a fast-growing movement spearheaded by Jewish education directors motivated to address these challenges. This new approach, based on natural language acquisition, is best summed up in the short video entitled, “Let’s Turn Hebrew Learning on its Head!” I encourage you to take the 12 minutes to watch this informative video.
Our Sunday morning class schedule is no more than two Sundays per month. With fewer Sundays, our program is highly focused. While this leaves one to two open Sundays per month for families to share together as they wish, it also means that it’s even more important that children regularly attend the program. Jewish values are our core emphasis of learning. We highlight 3-4 for any given school year. As with traditional Jewish learning, we will continue to learn Torah, study the holidays and pray together.
Many months will have a Sunday congregational program scheduled. These are open to families and other members of the congregation. There will be activities/learning for all ages. Depending on the particular program, there might be some adult only and child only sessions, mixed group activities, hands on components, or text-based learning.
To encourage observance of Shabbat and holidays with community, we have incorporated those celebrations into the calendar to include a couple of Friday evening dinners, Shabbat mornings, Havdalah, Simchat Torah and Purim.