Informal Educator's Message: May 2013

Ellyn Shriber
Ellyn Shriber, Informal Educator

Informal and Family Education programs offer an alternative to the regular classroom experience. Family Education seeks to enrich a family's Jewish perspective, and extend to parents a chance to share in their children's religious school journey. Informal programs provide students with an occasion for recreation and socialization, but also strive to encourage students to challenge themselves to try new experiences and grow through different forms of expression.

Families came together to celebrate the Torah books of Genesis/Beresheit and Numbers/Bamidbar through ritual, text study, music, craft, and, of course, food. Special grade-level programs allowed us to focus on the curriculum lessons of students in grades 1, 4, and 7. We began the year by welcoming the grade 1 families into the school and readying them for Consecration. Our grade 4 families "traveled" to Israel with Young Emissary Rivi Behar as we celebrated The Flavors of Israel and learned about Israeli religious observance. Finally, as part of their study of Holocaust and Human Behavior, grade 7 examined the topic of antisemistism in their lives through the ADL program: Confronting Antisemitism.

We hope that in addition to giving families a chance to spend time learning together on a Sunday morning, we provided an opportunity for you to meet other families and build community here at the temple. Thanks to all the students and parents for making this year in Family Education a huge success.

Offsite trips were wildly successful this year. Our 8th graders challenged themselves at the MetroWest YMCA in Hopkinton, explored their leadership potential, and enjoyed team-building exercises. For grade 9, our classroom was the urban excitement of New York City, especially the Lower East Side and a most memorable Bat Mitzvah at Central Synagogue. Speaking up for social justice was the aim of our grade 10 Confirmation class visit to the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and our Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. Similarly, the grades 4 & 5 Shul-in proved to be hugely popular as we recycled and planted for Tu B'Shvat, and shared pizza at LazerZone.

On many occasions, we were grateful to be joined by our Israeli emissaries, Rivi and Ziv, for their inside view of Israel. And finally, todah rabbah g'dolah to Rabbis Gurevitz and Eiduson for leading the various adult learning sessions, for providing vision for the educational direction for our congregation, and for challenging me to explore my creative potential.

Ellyn Shriber RJE

Jewish Life Educator