Hebrew & Israel education seem to be moving in various directions

8 Sep
by Laurie Rappeport

On the one hand, there are more Jewish children than ever enrolled in Jewish day schools, ranging from pluralistic schools to Federation-based institutions to schools which are affiliated with a specific philosophical or ideological mandate. Whichever Jewish day school a child attends however, statistics note that s/he is more likely to identify with Israel and with the Jewish community, marry a Jew and raise a committed Jewish family.

On the other hand, Jewish afternoon and Sunday schools are in transition. The number of overall hours of Hebrew school instruction has decreased over the past 20 years and many families are forgoing afternoon/Sunday school enrichment programs due to competition with other after-school programs programs, difficulty accessing a nearby school or a family’s general lack of affiliation with the sponsoring synagogue or temple.

If Google is any indication however, there is still significant interest on the part of parents and kids alike in Jewish learning. There are thousands of clicks every month of people searching for “online Jewish education,” “online Hebrew school,” “Jewish learning” and other keywords that point to kids’ desire to engage in some kind of Jewish learning program.

The JconnecT program has been created to address these needs. JConnecT students meet every Sunday morning for either one or two hours, depending on whether they want to register for Hip Hop Hebraics, Contemporary Jewish Issues or both sessions. The classes are geared to meet the kids’ interests and expectations as they make Jewish learning relevant for the 21st century.

Hip Hop Hebraics brings spoken Hebrew into a modern framework, using audio-visual presentations, contemporary usage and meaningful songs and dialog to engage the students in the language through modern Israeli culture.

The Contemporary Jewish Issues course takes the students on a journey of exploration as they examine the subjects that are of concern and interest to today’s Jewish community. In addition to Jewish heritage, topics include Israel-centered themes such as War and Peace and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

JconnecT runs in conjunction with the Margolin Hebrew Academy of Memphis which hosts two yearly Shabbatonim for the participants. Students are invited to join Margolin students in a Shabbat atmosphere of singing, discussions and social interaction.

Participating JconnecT students are generally pre-teens and teens who have either not successfully integrated into an existing Hebrew school framework or who live in areas where there are no afternoon religious schools available. Jewish homeschooling families often include the JconnecT program as part of their homeschooling program.

Laurie Rappeport is a JconnecT educator. For further information about JConnect please visit JconnecTLearning.

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One Response to “Hebrew & Israel education seem to be moving in various directions”

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  1. 18 Signs You Went To A Jewish Day School | Musings of a Mild Mannered Man - September 20, 2013

    […] Hebrew & Israel education seem to be moving in various directions (teachingisrael.wordpress.com) […]

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