What is Religious School?
Is it attending class to better understand the history of our people and learn our Shabbat liturgy? Yes! Before COVID 19, when and where was Religious School? Was it Sunday mornings at Temple? Yes!
And, while the answers above are accurate, they are not complete. Religious School is so much more. Our Sunday morning Religious School sessions are an opportunity for our children to build the fundamental tools to be Jewish. However, that is not where our practice of scholarship begins and ends. As adults we know that, as with anything, with the right care and attention, Judaism continues to grow beyond the threshold of the hallowed halls of our Religious School.
Through prayer, through discussion, through avodah, we continue to be students of our faith. However, the convenience of a fixed location and time for our learning has made our development as learned Jews limited. When we place all of our education eggs in one basket, we celebrate in a communal experience but miss a holistic experience. Currently, we find ourselves in a reality where congregating at a specific location is not in the cards. And, while we grieve the loss of that type of interaction, it opens us to other possible experiences.
This year, Congregation Beth HaTephila Religious School is going to take advantage of additional possible learning experiences. These learning experiences will enable our children to grow in ways that we are not able to achieve solely on Sunday mornings. Just as Jewish experiences are scattered throughout our days and weeks, so will Religious School. Of course, we will be meeting in our remote classrooms on Sunday mornings, but we will also be congregating for additional services throughout the week.
Our understanding of the Maariv practice will grow as we join together on our Facebook Religious School Group on Wednesday nights for Laila Tov. We’ll develop a greater understanding and appreciation for Havdalah during our once-a-month Havdalah Live (also on Facebook). And of course, our rousing Kehila Tephila on Sunday morning leads us through beautiful and fun elements of our morning prayer service.
It is very easy and convenient to perceive Religious School to be a “one-stop shop” on Sunday mornings. However, necessity to grow as a community and continue learning has allowed us to invent some pretty awesome, educational and communal experiences that you will be able to (and as an RS student, required to) attend. This fall you will be encouraged to find Religious School throughout our days and weeks, just as our Jewish calendar cycle promotes. See you there!
Director of Religious Education & Sacred Music