Building Jewish Foundations
By Vivian Henoch, Editor myJewishDetroit
September 1, 2014
“Intriguing and enriching.”
“A very positive message.”
“The lessons learned will enhance family time.”
“I’m actually excited to come to ‘Sunday school’ with my children.”
Last year, it was the new program that started parents talking. This year, Federation’s Foundations of Jewish Family Living returns to participating synagogues with a full curriculum for parents interested in bringing home the stories and values of Jewish teaching to share with young children.
“No homework. No grades. Know Judaism.”
Unlike other Jewish parenting classes, Foundations is intended as a springboard for parents to develop a deeper understanding of Judaism and a greater participation in Jewish celebrations.
Developed by the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School and facilitated in partnership with Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education, the two-semester, 10-week curriculum explores Jewish core values – such as the sanctity of life, pursuing peace, welcoming guests, caring for the environment, the nature of prayer and remembrance. Each topic is anchored by a Master Story widely identified with a specific Jewish value which parents can use as teaching moments with their children. Many of the lessons are paired with selections from the PJ Library books that many families already receive in their homes.
“For parents of young children embarking upon their first years in religious school, Foundations is a great course of action, offering a practical guide to Jewish concepts as well as a community of other parents who are at a similar stage in their lives,” says Gail Greenberg, Assistant Director of Melton and FedEd. “Parents are engaged in meaningful learning that leads to wonderful conversations with their families.”
What parents are saying
“We tend to focus on the importance of a Jewish education for our children but it is equally as important that we, as parents, set an example of continued Jewish educational growth, no matter what our age.”-Alicia, parent at Temple Israel
“Our teacher facilitated intriguing and enriching discussions every week helping me to understand how to take the concepts being taught home and pass them on to my family.” -Jeff, parent at Temple Shir Shalom
“My kids’ Jewish education always had been the priority, but after taking Foundations I now know why it is important for me to continue learning as well.” – Gayle, parent at Temple Shir Shalom
“I’m enjoying this class more than I ever expected. I’m excited to come to ‘Sunday school’ and it’s great that I can set that example with my children!” -Jessica, parent at Temple Israel
Foundations for Jewish Family Living starts in September at participating congregations. The cost per semester – ten Sunday morning sessions – is $50 per person or $75 per couple. Scholarships are available. Free babysitting is provided. Register at jewishdetroit.org/foundations or call 248-205-2536.
Participating Congregations: Adat Shalom Synagogue, Congregation Beth Ahm, Congregation Beth Shalom, , Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Congregation Shir Tikvah, Temple Beth El, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Israel, Temple Kol Ami and Temple Shir Shalom.
PJ Library. The one to grow on
Are you the parent of a child ages 6 months – 9 years old? Do they receive free Jewish books in the mail each month? Not yet? Wait no longer!
Jewish Detroit is proud to be one of the first communities in the country to have adopted this groundbreaking program sending free Jewish-themed books to children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years. Since its launch in in 2005, more than 1,800 families have received the gift of the PJ Library – a selection of age-appropriate and ever-delightful books and CDs delivered every month. Do the math: that’s up to 90 free books sent to each child in the program over a span of seven and a half years! Parents get the benefits, too. . . as books become favorite bedtime reading and often arrive with additional resources to foster Jewish learning in their homes.
If you have yet to sign up your child for PJ Library, please click here or contact Lisa Soble Siegmann 248-205-2534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask around. Here are just a few of our kids’ favorite PJ titles
Joan Nathan’s Children’s Holiday Kitchen: 70 Fun Recipes for You and Your Kids. “It was a cookbook that my son got when he was in 1st grade. He made me read it to him like it is a regular book! For some reason, this book grabbed him differently than the other ones. He actually slept with it. We made cupcakes for a school project and he was so proud.” – Marianne
“We got the most mileage out of Look at Me by Rick Recht & Sheldon Low. We played this CD over and over in the car and thanks to Rick & Sheldon, our daughter Zera (age 6) knew quite a few words in Hebrew before she started school last year. When Zera was two she loved for us to read Boker Tov by Joe Black (which also came with a CD). My favorite is Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback. On one page there’s a discarded newspaper with a headline that announces ‘Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof!’ Hilarious.” – Jennifer
“Our daughter, Lillian loves reading Shabbat is Coming with her Safta as they prepare for Shabbat together!“- Amy
“The Tu Beshvat Book is still our favorite – the flow and pictures are awesome. We also love The Rosh Hashannah Book with the flaps you can lift. This is one of the easiest ways for me as a mother of two small children to incorporate religion and culture into our daily lives.” – Jill
“I absolutely have to gush about the PJ library. We got our first book, “King Solomon and the Bee” and Genevieve loves it. She was worried because she thought we had to take it back to the library but when I told her it was hers to keep, she was so happy, she danced. It is so nice to have access to Jewish-themed children’s’ books, especially for our little interfaith family. We all learn from them, not just the kiddo! “– Solana
“By far, my daughter’s favorite book so far is the Shabbat Story Book. We read that book at least 4 times in a sitting. She is 20 months and is recognizing the Kiddush Cup from the Spice Box and the candles from the Havdalah Candle and etc.” – Suanne
“Every night before bed Hadley picks out a few books to read, her choice. Last night she picked a PJ library book we have read several times, Rise and Shine. She said “mommy they make challah and we make challah too!” Absolutely LOVE the connections and comprehension that she is gaining!” – Bonnie
“These books have given us all a chance to learn new things together and make holidays and traditions more meaningful at home. From the moment the books arrive and Sarah learns that she has “mail of her own”, it is an exciting moment for her. She runs around the house with the package yelling, “Sarah’s mail!” – Alyssa