Building a Jewish Foundation for Children
Children from Beit Warszawa's religious school on a nature hike with their teachers and parent chaperones.
Beit Warszawa religious school class visits historic Wilanow Palace, a Polish cultural icon.
Recess at Gdansk religious school. Our newest Sunday school meets once a month for stories, music and holiday celebrations.
Story telling at Beit Warszawa Sunday school.
We Strongly believe that the Polish Jewish community's future lies with its children.
Our religious education programs are challenged to serve a large number of children from interfaith homes. We work hard (and successfully) to create an atmosphere that the children enjoy. The friendships they make and projects they work on keep the children coming back.
Also helping us meet the challenge are guided group discussions for the parents of religious school children.
Shabbat Gam Yachad, our monthly children’s activities, connect the children with the Jewish holidays and introduces the weekly Torah portion to them. Most of the children who attend have not had any Jewish experience before. Watching them walk with small Torah scrolls around the room during the Torah procession, or waving Israeli flags on Yom Haatzmaut is really heartwarming.
A new approach to educating local Jewish children in Poland has been operating in Beit Warszawa since the Fall of 2012.
Although the Sunday School model is a reasonable approach to Jewish childhood education, we favor a school that meets on Saturday mornings for the following reasons:
- Meeting on Shabbat mornings will best allow the children to not only learn about Jewish life, ritual, holidays, and Shabbat, but to experience Shabbat first-hand. The experience of Shabbat- its rituals, foods, blessings, Hebrew prayers, songs, Torah readings, melodies, and sense of Jewish community- is best taught through active participation. Meeting while Shabbat morning services are taking place in the sanctuary will enable the children to learn first-hand about this cornerstone of Jewish life as well as to engage in further Jewish learning activities taught at their level of understanding.
- Over the past two years, we have held a monthly child-oriented Saturday morning program called Shabbat Gam Yachad (“Sabbath all together”), during which children have engaged in hands-on activities designed to teach them about the Torah portion being read that morning, as well as singing, dancing, and joining with the adults for the procession of the Torah and closing songs.
- If our students choose to participate in another local Jewish childhood education program that meets on Sunday, they could potentially participate in both.
- By scheduling our Jewish childhood education program on Saturday mornings, when we already have a service designed for adults, we provide an open door for parents who might otherwise be unlikely to stay at Beit Warszawa.