A brilliant Jewish educator once said that the task of a successful Cheder program was to create wonderful Jewish memories for our children. That is what Beit Shalom’s weekly Cheder sets out to do. Knowing that time is short, we focus on conveying the key teachings and traditions of Judaism. Our youngest students begin to learn the central themes of our celebrations and also to learn some of the most well-known stories from the Torah. Older students enter into more indepth study of the Torah and start to understand that we Progressive Jews remain in dialogue with the text throughout our lives. Our oldest class utilises the Chai Curriculum to focus on the central themes of Torah, worship, and acts of kindness as taught in central texts and values teachings of our people.
Hebrew is a focus for all of our children. The youngest children learn to recognise the letters and associate each one with its sound and some key words. Older students master the art of reading Hebrew and learn more important Hebrew words. By the time students complete our Cheder, they should have an understanding of Hebrew as the language of Jewish prayer but also as a living language of the state of Israel.
Over the course of the year, our studies are interrupted as Jewish celebrations come around. We bake hamantaschen for Purim and pack up care packages to deliver to elderly congregants in keeping with the tradition of mishloach manot. As Pesach draws near, the whole school comes together for a model seder. Other festivals may bring with them the opportunity to create high-quality crafts that will be appreciated for years to come. At our weekly gatherings, the children participate in Jewish worship but also learn traditional songs and even a bit of Jewish folk dancing. Come join us!