Wisdom Garden, a Jewish Journey for 6-14 year olds
The word for education in Hebrew is chinuch and shares the same root as the name of our holiday called Hanukkah. The root of both words means dedication. It takes a student’s dedication to learn all about our rich history, holiday cycles, and prayers. And it takes dedication on the part of the staff to be able to impart such a long and rich tradition.
Dedication is the basis for a good Jewish education. But dedication alone is like a menorah without oil. The oil for the lamp of learning is joy.
A good teacher lights the emotional and spiritual lamp of each menorah that is inside each child. And this can only be done by making the curriculum fun, relevant, and joyous. That is what Hands on Judaism is all about.
Jewish Renewal has a special way of making the presence of G-d accessible and available to people of all ages through study, prayer, singing, story-telling, and art. Our school staff is dedicated to making each and every Shabbat morning as memorable an event as possible. Our school is geared toward developing a life long love of learning. While children are learning in a creative environment, they are learning all the traditional aspects of Jewish ethics & values, mitzvot, Torah, blessings and prayers. The program is child-centered, thus our children love to come.
We look forward to having your child/children in our program.
The Havurah’s Saturday program for 11-14 year olds meets from 10 AM – 1:00 PM twice a month. The dates are on the Havurah calendar. This program also includes an outdoor component – Shoreshim/Roots, which meets three times a year. The first gathering is on Saturday, September 24 from 10 AM – 1 PM.
The program from 6-10 year olds meets from 10 AM till noon twice a month.
For information on Peace Garden – Gan Neve Shalom, our Waldorf-inspired Preschool & Kindergarten, please contact Leah Avital Cohen at 488-8887.
Our School Philosophy
By Ayala Zonnenschein, Havurah Executive Director
Psalm 90 that we chant on Shabbat mornings says “Teach us to treasure each day, that we may open our hearts to your wisdom.” This is the beauty of Judaism in a nutshell…the message that we strive to instill in our children.
Our children are our future. The future of the Jewish community is directly intertwined with the connection our children develop to their roots, their heritage, and to the beauty and richness of our traditions.
Our goal is to empower our children by imparting to them the relevance of Judaism to their lives. We do this through experiential learning that engages the children through all their senses — seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. They absorb Judaism via drama, storytelling, art, singing and baking traditional holiday treats together.
Through acts of loving kindness, “tzedaka,” and community service both locally and in Israel, we strive to give the children a sense of responsibility and belonging to the community.
The children learn about Jewish holidays, rituals and prayers in the hope that they will incorporate them into their lives. They learn the beauty of Torah as a guide for an ethical life and a knowledge of Hebrew that will enable them to feel comfortable praying with any community wherever that may be. Most of all, we want our children to experience the joyous Judaism that is the foundation of Jewish Renewal.
Our goal is that the transition from childhood to adulthood, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, will be empowering, moving, and life-changing for our students and that it is the beginning of life-long Jewish learning and service.
I am looking forward to welcoming your family to our school community.
SHABBAT PROGRAM for 11-14 year olds
We begin the day with Rabbi David leading a call and response prayer session. Amy Rhine, our main teacher in a multi-age classroom, teaches about the holidays incorporating Jewish values. Sometimes we join the families in the sanctuary for Shabbat morning service during the Torah service for about thirty minutes. As the children learn the prayers and as they approach the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they can begin leading certain prayers in the service. The last 30-45 minutes is spent on studying Hebrew with Ayala Zonnenschein.
Our new, outdoor component led by Amy Rhine who did a special training this past summer with Wilderness Torah in the Bay Area is called Shoreshim/Roots. There will be three gatherings, one in each season exploring our Jewish Roots in nature. CLICK HERE for a full explanation of what Shoreshim is.
Experiential learning is the key for our younger students – they will learn through art, drama, storytelling, games and movement. We want them, first and foremost, to have a joyful experience of Judaism. They will learn about Shabbat and Havdallah, Holidays, Torah stories and Jewish values.
Our goal for all of our children is that they learn to walk the talk – that they understand what it is to be mentsches in the world.
Rabbi David Zaslow is our very own “singing Rabbi”. He has been our spiritual leader since 1996. He travels throughout the country leading Shabbatons and workshops on spirituality and Jewish education. One of his greatest gifts is his amazing ability to relate to children, teens and adults alike…and touch everyone’s hearts.
Amy Rhine is a Waldorf-inspired preschool teacher, farmer, and avid seed saver. A UC Santa Cruz grad with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture, Amy’s focus is in environmental education. Amy grew up within the San Francisco Jewish community, and enjoys exploring the bridge between the seasons and cycles in nature and the seasons and cycles within Judaism. Amy shares her earth-based skills with the children, and enjoys growing and learning with them!
Ayala Zonnenschein directs the school and teaches Hebrew and subs for a teacher when absent.
Susan Tuttle We’re delighted to welcome Susan Tuttle on board to teach our younger class this year. Susan has a B.A. in Theater Arts from San Francisco State and after being an at home mom for several years, returned to SF State in the mid-80’s to study Elementary Education. Susan has taught both pre-school and elementary level classes for many years before retiring in Ashland. Her love of Judaism and passion for children makes her a wonderful addition to our staff.