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Kulanu Learning (K-12th)

 

 

About Our Programs

How do we create a sacred community that creates a sense of joy and belonging for our youth and families? Many supplemental Jewish education programs focus on learning-then-doing where teachers lead discussions, give information, and “complete” learning with an activity of some sort - often resulting in something along the lines of a dozen identical crafts hanging on the hallway bulletin board.  

At Congregation Shir Hadash, we believe in impactful Jewish learning-through-doing. This is inspired by a dialogue between Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Akiva, and the sages, who debated the question, “Which is greater, study or action?” They concluded that studying is greater because it leads people to take action. Studying offers us guidelines for what kind of action to take. 

And study, or learning, can take place both in and outside of the classroom, in formal and informal settings, where all of us as a community come together to bring Judaism alive in vibrant and lasting ways.  

Kulanu (“All of Us”): The Center of Jewish Education and Engagement for Youth and Families, in Memory of Mel Jacobs, is a multi-faceted approach to Jewish learning that lets go of the notions of “school,” and replaces it with “experience.” We acknowledge that our youth and their families are unique and recognize that engagement in Jewish life is not one size fits all.  As such, we strive to support all of our youth and families in a variety of ways in which they can connect with Judaism. By learning and living Jewishly, and by understanding our collective history and traditions, we can find meaning and purpose in our lives today.

No longer will our youth and families be participating in “Religious School,” “Hebrew School,” or “Hebrew High,” but they will be part of Kulanu Learning.   

The focus of our program is quality over quantity, depth over breadth, and allows for reflection and process. We are constantly reflecting upon all the different ways in which our youth and families can learn through and engage themselves in inquiry and discovery.  This is directed by the youth and families, with a greater emphasis on providing opportunities for them to take ownership of what and how they engage with their own expressions of Judaism.

Our MISSION

We are a sacred community - kehillah kedoshah -  that fosters Jewish identity formation, builds meaningful connections, and creates a sense of joy and belonging for youth and their families.

SESAME SHUL (Pre-K)

  • Geared for our students in the year prior to kindergarten, Sesame Shul meets monthly and introduces Jewish values, holidays, and traditions in a developmentally appropriate way through stories, crafts, and participation in school-wide Kulanu programs. 
  • Students will begin to become comfortable in the sanctuary during tefillah (services) and have meaningful Jewish learning experiences through a variety of different modalities. 
  • Families will have opportunities to learn with their child and bring Judaism home to reinforce concepts taught in the classroom.    

K-6th Grade

  • Kulanu Learning: Our Kindergarten-6th Grade program takes place on Sunday mornings from 9:30 am-12:00 pm.  Our curriculum is inspired by that of Reggio-Emilia and Project-Based Learning, placing students front and center of their own learning. See curriculum overview for more details about our program.
  • Kulanu Hebrew: 3rd-6th graders attend class once per week for small-group sessions either immediately following Kulanu Learning on Sundays, from 12:30 pm-2:00pm, or on Tuesdays, from 4:00pm-6:00pm. An alternative program, "Private Hebrew Tutoring," is available as well for those unable to attend at the offered times.   
  • B'nai Mitzvah Preparation: For students approaching age 13. Learn more about B'nai Mitzvah Preparation.

7th-12th Grade

  • JET: 7th-12th-graders meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm-8:00 pm.  We acknowledge that Judaism is not one size fits all, and we want our teens to immerse themselves in a type of Judaism that is meaningful for them.  JET students take electives that help them find the relevance and importance of Judaism in their lives. It also offers an opportunity to meet and build community with other Jewish teens.

Questions?

Contact our rabbi educator, Rabbi PJ Schwartz or assistant to Rabbi educator  Lily Harowitz, for the current registration form and to answer any other questions you may have about these programs. Review our Frequently Asked Questions.

Tuition

You must be a member in good standing to enroll your children in Kulanu. We make every effort to ensure that cost is not a barrier so that all children at Shir Hadash can receive a Jewish education. If needed, please complete the Scholarship Application (PDF) and contact Rabbi PJ Schwartz or executive director Gary Geller for more information on financial assistance. See tuition and fee details for all of our programs.

PARENT Participation AND INVOLVEMENT

We welcome family participation and parent involvement in our program and view our parents as partners in their child(ren)'s Jewish education. Family education days are scheduled throughout the year to give families a chance to learn with their child(ren). There are a variety of volunteer opportunities to help support our program and support their child(ren).  For more information about family education programming and volunteer opportunities, contact Rabbi Schwartz. 

Special Needs

We care about making our program as inclusive as possible for all students with a range of different needs. We are actively working to assess how we could improve our programs to better meet the broad range of needs of our families, and have engaged an Inclusion Coordinator and Hebrew Resource Specialist to help ensure that all of our students can be successful in our program. Please offer us your input in this regard by contacting Rabbi Schwartz.

Mission and Vision

We are a sacred community - kehillah kedoshah -  that fosters Jewish identity formation, builds meaningful connections, and creates a sense of joy and belonging for youth and their families.

Our Core Values

  • We want our students to gain Jewish knowledge and understand how Judaism can help us live better more joyful, and purposeful lives.  

  • We want learning outcomes to result in a sense of pride in being Jewish. 

  • We want their learning to be dynamic, experiential, and lift up the Jewish narrative, in America, Israel, and the world.  

  • We also want them to form deep relationships with each other and feel part of a sacred community (kehillah kedoshah) in which they can participate and be supported. 

  • We want them to feel that Shir Hadash is a safe and inclusive space, in which their individual needs and differences are being valued.

ABOUT MEL JACOBS

Past President Mel JacobsMelvin “Mel” Jacobs served as the founding president of Congregation Shir Hadash from 1980-1982, and continued with a second term in 1983 until his death in January 1984.   Mel was instrumental in the founding of Shir Hadash.   He was fiercely dedicated to Judaism, and his endless energy and persistence were crucial in leading the 230 founding families in the congregation’s early years.  His warmth and love from his smile transcended everything he did.  Rabbi Henry Jay Karp described Mel as:

…someone who loved to talk about “living Judaism,” a Judaism that plays a real part in our everyday lives.   This vibrant, vital Judaism was integral in his vision of what Shir Hadash was meant to be.   It was to be a house of fellowship and peace, of commitment and dedication.   It was to be the fountain of love and respect for our fellow human beings.

Part of achieving this vision included building a vibrant religious education program that fostered Jewish identity, community and belonging for children and families.   The congregation dedicated its religious school program to Mel in 1984 shortly after his death to honor his legacy and help ensure that Mel’s dream of a “living Judaism” would be fulfilled for generations to come.

Mon, May 16 2022 15 Iyar 5782