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Synagogue School Offers Free Tuition

Monday, August 25, 2014 • 4:52pm

Congregation Beth Hatikvah (CBH) is offering a “180 days for $180” option to allow families to try the synagogue and its religious school on for size.

Families can enjoy all the benefits of full membership for six months for a nominal $180 fee and enroll their children in religious school with no additional tuition required.

For the new year beginning Sept. 13, the school has announced changes to its curriculum.

The new features, including “Sunday Fundays,” more opportunities for family learning, and partnership with the congregation’s Social Action Committee, grow out of the school’s emphasis on building community and a sense of joy in being Jewish.

“Our goal is for our children to come to understand what it means for them, personally, to be Jewish and to feel connected to the Jewish community,” explained Nancy Hersh, the school’s Educational Director. “We want them to experience the joy of the holidays, to find the meaning in traditional life cycle events…to see that Judaism is fun.”

The K - post-bnei mitzvah school is small—approximately 65 students attended last year—allowing teachers to take a creative, hands-on approach to learning, according to Hersh. On any given day, one class may be playing games with Hebrew words while others are dramatizing torah stories, debating the existence of God, building models of ancient Jerusalem, or writing a newspaper.

While many families enroll their children in religious school to prepare them for a bar or bat mitzvah, Hersh stresses that the b’nei mitzvah process in CBH is different from in many other congregations. “Every bar or bat mitzvah is very personal,” she said. “The family is central and get to make the service their own, so the kids really connect to the experience and have a great sense of pride. But the whole congregation is involved, too, doing torah readings, helping with ushering and preparing the oneg [refreshments following the service] and just rejoicing together. “

Many of the congregation’s teenagers choose to remain in school after their bar or bat mitzvah and participate in the teen program which meets once a month for discussion, activities, and socializing with their peers.

Congregation Beth Hatikvah, located close to the Summit/Chatham border, serves both communities as well as members from many towns in Morris, Essex, and Union counties.

For more information, visit www.bethhatikvah.org or call 908-277-0200.

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