Family Learning Models of Innovation
The Jewish Education Project
Family Learning Models focus on families both learning and growing Jewishly through shared experiences and study. The structure may support the family unit by providing childcare, multi-age learning, or regular hands-on activities. Learning may take place in a variety of settings including the synagogue, Tikkun Olam project sites, or in one another’s homes. This learning might take place on Shabbat, on a family retreat, or parallel to traditional Sunday school hours. An emphasis on creating connections within and among participating families drives much of the educational design. A key to the Family Learning Model is the refocus on families, not only children, as learners.
These models are part of a larger collection of innovation models for Congregational Learning.
Merrick Jewish Centre, Merrick, NY. Established congregants meet with families to share their personal stories about a mitzvah they are passionate about. Then families engage in an activity that focuses on that mitzvah.
Temple Shaaray Tefila, New York, NY. MASA (the Hebrew word means journey) is an innovative year-long Jewish educational “journey” for groups of 25 families with children in grades K-7.
Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA. Families come together twice a month, once to experience Shabbat as a B’Yachad community and another time to help heal the world by participating in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) projects
Community Synagogue of Rye (CSR), NY. Learners in 5th-7th grade meet weekly with a moreh derech (guide/teacher) in each other’s homes to explore Jewish answers to everyday questions. The model includes Family Limmud monthly.
Mensch-ify is an alternative learning program that is held twice a month for families with children in Pre-K to 6th grade. It is a developmentally appropriate program, built upon the parent-child co-learning experience, that combines stories, songs, art, movement, and play to provide families with the tools they need to live a Jewish life that works for them.
Ahavat Achim Synagogue, Atlanta, GA. Students and their families meet five times a year, outside of regular religious school hours, as a group based on geographic location, to celebrate and learn about mitzvot.