Sunday, November 27, 2011

News from the Religious School at Adas Emuno

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

News from the
Religious School
at Adas Emuno

Religious School Director
Jennifer Katz-Goldstein

It is hard to believe that we have entered the month of November, albeit with a bit of an interruption after the unexpected storms in late October. So we have had an incredible beginning in more ways than one! But our schoolhouse, as always, is filled with the energy and spirit of our students and teachers busy with their respective curriculum.

It is a pleasure to have our school gather to pray as a community each week. As we have settled into a routine, so too have our students become increasingly comfortable participating in services and sitting in prayer together. I am particularly pleased when our students assist the Rabbi and Cantor in leading portions of the services. In addition, our 7th graders are getting the opportunity to “practice” standing in front of their community and getting comfortable on the bima.

 One of the areas that we are focusing on to improve this year is the Hebrew level of our students. What we mean by this is increasing their ability to follow the service, read and/or chant the prayers and be comfortable with their own prayer participation. As such, we will be emphasizing more prayer chanting in our classrooms. Students will spend time as a group, in pairs and individually working on getting to know prayer tunes earlier so that by the time we begin to work on B'nai Mitzvah preparation, they will already have achieved a certain level of competency in many of the prayers they will lead during their B'nai Mitzvah service. 

One particularly exciting component to this is a website that student Cantor Luke Hawley has put together for Adas Emuno. With this site, a student or parent can have access to all of the prayers contained in our Shabbat worship service and eventually, to include holiday songs, blessings and Torah Portions for B'nai Mitzvah. One can follow along reading text or listening to the correct way to chant and learn at one’s own pace. All of our congregants will be provided with the website and password to gain access to this wonderful learning tool. Thank you Cantor Hawley!
Our Confirmation class also continually impresses me. Our students are consistently almost all in attendance for every session (all fifteen of them) and their enthusiasm for being at Adas Emuno and learning together is contagious. I must admit that being with this group, teaching and learning with them is one of my favorite aspects of my job. Our teens are quite impressive! I should also mention that many of these same Confirmation students as well as other teens are also assistant teachers in our school. Having these students helping out and serving as role models is invaluable.

We have begun our Family Shabbat Grade Participation services. Already grade seven has gathered in October for a family dinner and service participation which was truly impressive. Grade Six will participate on November 18, and on December 9, grades four/five will come together.  We look forward to sharing another special evening together with our students, parents and the Congregation.

In December, students will usher in the Festival of Lights with a special snack of latkes, applesauce and soufganiyot (munchkin donuts) a special student service focused on the “miracles” of Chanukah and in-class learning. A special thank you to the parent volunteers who provide the ritual foods and extra materials we need as well as setting up and cleaning up when we are finished. These unique days could not take place without you!! 

As the holidays approach, please be on the lookout for your child to bring home a copy of the “Parent Page”. This is put out by the URJ (Union of Reform Judaism) and serves as a guide to observing the holidays and includes history, blessings, stories and projects to help you and your family enjoy the holidays.
Progress reports will be sent home for every child in grades kindergarten through seven during the month of January. These are our way to give you a “glance” at what your child is doing in class. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time regarding these or any other school matter either by phone or email at

L’Shalom, (go forward towards peace)

Jennifer Katz-Goldstein

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