Fig Tree

Fig Tree is an independent program for children ages 3 – 13, providing rich and accessible Jewish education to children from interfaith, interracial and/ or secular backgrounds along with all families looking for an alternative and inclusive approach to Jewish education. Fig Tree instills pride and encourages growth of Jewish identity in their students, rooted in a strong foundation of Jewish religion, culture and heritage. Fig Tree offers flexibility to busy families, including options to sign up by trimester, change location or day of the week, and opt-in to pick-up at school for those who need it.
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Organization Name: Fig Tree

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Program Website:

Grades of Participants: Pre-K, K-5, 6-8

Number of Participants: Over 100


Target Audience: Open to all learners, and we tend to serve many Jewish+ (interfaith) families, along with Jewish families of color.


Schedule: 26 classes, four days per week at three sites. Classes include: K/1st, 2nd/3rd, 4th/5th, 6th grade, B'nai Mitzvah, and Hebrew language.


Location: Fig Tree rents spaces in a variety of locations throughout Brooklyn. Spaces that do not feel too academic in nature are intentionally sought out: yoga and dance studios, play spaces, community rooms. Choosing alternative spaces helps distinguish Fig Tree from "school."

Staff:  Fig Tree employs 10 part-time educators and 1 part-time administrator. It is led by its full-time founding director.



  • To offer an enriching and inclusive Jewish education program for students who might otherwise be unaffiliated with any formal Jewish programming or community.
  • To nourish each student's sense of Jewish identity, and to foster a positive association with Judaism.
  • To inspire joyful Jewish practice at home and in community.
  • To create lifelong Jews.


Fig Tree is an independent Jewish education program for children ages 3 – 13. The purpose of Fig Tree is to provide a rich and accessible Jewish education to kids from Jewish+ (interfaith), interracial and/ or secular backgrounds- or simply to families seeking a Hebrew School alternative. Our learners explore Jewish culture, ritual, values, and Hebrew language in a fun, accessible way. Led by experienced teachers, Fig Tree classes incorporate elements of art, music, drama, movement to foster an intellectually stimulating and meaningful learning experience for kids of all ages.

Origin Story

Rachel Weinstein White created Fig Tree after seeking an option like Fig Tree for her own children, and not finding it. Synagogue membership did not resonate with her Jewish+ family, yet she still wanted her children to experience Jewish learning in community. A small group of parents from her preschool got together and hired a teacher for weekly Hebrew and Torah classes. Word spread, and they expanded to multiple age groups and class locations. Fig Tree now has well over 300 students in three locations across Brooklyn.

Creating Jewish Community

Fig Tree is a community of learners. For many of our families, Fig Tree classes *are* their Jewish community. They also create opportunities for our families to gather Jewishly - Shabbat, holidays, community service.

Creating Content-rich and Accessible Learning

Fig Tree classes are only one hour. Jewish values and identity are prioritized within a limited timeframe. At the same time, their aim is to expose learners to Jewish universalities of ritual, prayer, and text. Every class begins with a prayer or blessing (tied to the theme of that trimester). They learn Torah stories, blessings and Shabbat home practice. Creating values-based learning with an emphasis on Jewish values in particular is a core component of the pedagogy, content and programming. Trimester themes are tied to different values, and lessons allow learners to explore those values through Jewish text, art activities, ritual practice and cultural exploration. All of our events and holiday/Shabbat gatherings incorporate and elevate Jewish values. For example, at their Chanukah party, they also do service project to bring light to those in need.

Creating Life-relevant Learning

They aim to expose students to Jewish ritual and Shabbat practice. Fig Tree strives to avoid Ashkenormativity and emphasizes a global Jewish practice.

A Story of Our Program at its Best

Last year Founder/Director Rachel Weinstein White had the opportunity to teach a 2nd/3rd grade class for one trimester, the theme of which was "Jewish time." The students created a Jewish calendar, working a little bit on it each week for the 10-week trimester. One student turned her calendar into a Mayan calendar, because that's what she was learning in school. Rachel first tried to redirect her, but then noticed she'd incorporated the Hebrew alphabet into Mayan runes. She also had a Christmas tree in Kislev. In her exit interview she said: "Something about the calendar I learned is that a calendar can teach us [about our] culture, because we all look forward together. It's like we have the same future. [At my school] I learned about the Mayan calendar, which is also solar and lunar, and also brings harvest [holidays] is also really old. We all have the same sun and moon and seasons. And so, we all have the same future."

Sample Lesson Plan and Assets

Lesson plan #1

Lesson plan #2



  • After School and Beyond
  • Educator Training
  • Congregational Learning
  • Early Childhood
  • Family Engagement