Ohavi Zedek: A Place for Learning
“Makom” means “place” in Hebrew–a place for learning, dwelling, or coming together as a community. It can even refer to a sense of place in the world. Ohavi Zedek provides a place for all of these things in an open and welcoming atmosphere. Our Hebrew School is often the first stop for families looking for a “makom,” and we strive to serve families from varied backgrounds. We offer programs for children ranging from Preschool to B’nai Mitzvah age in a lively and engaging environment which provides essential tools for continued exploration of Judaism’s rich traditions. We believe that Hebrew School should be more than simply a teacher and a classroom full of students; it should be a place where our connections to one another and the community at large come alive. To strengthen these connections, the entire school joins together for holiday celebrations, student-led Junior Congregation, Family Friendly Shabbat services, music, Israeli Dance, and special presentations. Families are invited and encouraged to participate in all special events. To engender an understanding of tikkun olam (or “repairing the world”) each Hebrew School class gets an opportunity during the year to choose a recipient for the donations in our synagogue Tzedakah box. Through these donations, as well as hands-on projects, our students begin to understand their responsibility as Jews to care for one another and the makom that we all inhabit.
Makom L’Mechinah: A Place to Prepare (Grades K-2)
Sunday mornings, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM
In our younger grades, children are introduced to the Hebrew alphabet, from letter recognition to linking sounds. Holidays, Torah, Modern Hebrew, prayer, ethics, and life-cycle events round out our curriculum. Our teachers recognize that children learn in many different way, and they work to bring the Jewish traditions alive through the senses. One week students might connect with the Aleph Bet through yoga; another week may find students completing art projects, learning songs, or engaging in Torah Time with their parents.
Makom Lilmod: A Place to Learn (Grades 3-7)
Sunday mornings, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM and Wednesday afternoons, 4:00-6:00 PM
On Sundays, our older students are grouped by grade. Together as a class, they explore prayer, Torah, ethics, holidays, and life cycle events, and participate in all-school events and Junior Congregation.
During the first hour of Hebrew School on Wednesdays, older students study Hebrew language according to ability rather than age. This is designed to accelarate learning while minimizing frustration. Language is reinforced on Sundays through the study of prayer and Torah. The second hour on Wednesdays is dedicated to SUPER electives. These electives are experiential, multi-faceted, and project-based learning opportunities that examine Jewish culture, traditions, and history through different lenses. Our current slate of SUPER electives includes Jewish SUPER Heroes, Judaism and Food, Jewish Life Cycle Events – The Bear Essentials and Judaism and the Environment. Our current slate of SUPER electives includes Judaism and the Arts, Judaism and Food, Israel, Shabbat Toolkit, and Jewish Environmentalism/Tikkun Olam. These semester-long explorations are designed to give depth and breadth to each topic, utilizing field trips, guest speakers, and more. Our Kitah Zayin (Grade 7) students who are preparing for bar/bat mitzvah participate in the SUPER electives only during the Fall semester. In the Spring, they continue with Hebrew language learning during the first hour on Wednesdays, and then dedicate the second hour to exploring this rite of passage and learning the necessary service prayers with the assistant rabbi.
Makom L’Mishpacha: A Place for Family (6th and 7th Graders)
Three Sunday mornings per month, 9:30 AM-11:30 AM, various locations
Makom L’Mishpacha is an educational alternative for parents and middle-schoolers who want to explore their connection to Judaism together.
Through classroom and experiential learning, families will uncover the stories, the songs, the actions, and the questions that guide the emergence of Jewish identity. Themes of the program include community building, service, history, prayer, and storytelling. The second year focuses on prayer and the study of texts – Torah, Talmud, and Midrash – as building blocks toward creating and participating in a bar/bat mitzvah.
Based on the belief that Judaism is best learned together, Makom L’Mishpacha meets on Sunday mornings three times a month: families will meet together for holiday learnings and celebrations; parents and students will meet in a combined class at Ohavi Zedek designed to share stories and questions about Jewish heritage; and students will meet together for an experiential class focused on service, art, or the environment. Students enrolled in Makom L’Mishpacha may also attend Hebrew language classes and SUPER electives on Wednesdays.
Makom L’Ivrit: A Place for Hebrew (Language Lab)
On Sundays and Wednesdays
Our fully staffed Language Learning Lab offers students more exposure to Hebrew through the use of computers, books, and games. There they can get one-on-one assistance to bolster or challenge their Hebrew skills.
Naomi Barell serves as Principal of the Hebrew School
Rebecca Stern is the Tot Shabbat leader
Melanie Kessler is the primary teacher of the Makom L’Mishpacha program