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Community Corner - Keri Loventhal, ECLC Director

10/30/2018 12:07:06 PM


Community Corner

Traditional Learning Through The Academies
Keri Loventhal, ECLC Director

The word tradition is defined as passing down information, beliefs, and customs from one generation to another. Celebrating Shabbat is a tradition that has been passed down from many generations.  Baking challah is an old ritual that we partake in as we prepare for Shabbat but it was new to my family when I was growing up. As my sisters and I entered into elementary school, my parents strived to bring more Judaism into our home then what they both had growing up.  They wanted us to learn the meaning and tradition of Shabbat, but also to experience Shabbat. Each Friday began with our house being cleaned and my mom baking a fresh challah.  My mom would get the ingredients out to make the challah" flour, sugar, salt, eggs, oil, and yeast. Each of my sisters and I got to help measure the ingredients and pour them into the bowl.  Once the ingredients were mixed the challah dough was ready to rise. After the last rising my mom would separate the dough into three parts and then braid the dough. Then she would put it in the oven to bake. The smell of the challah filled the house and we knew the beginning of Shabbat was near. During the week we ate in the kitchen, but on Shabbat we ate in the dining room. We set the table with a beautiful white table cloth and used our fancy dishes along with wine glasses and cloth napkins. Before the sun was about to set, we lit the candles and said the blessing, then blessed the wine. My father always blessed each of us, and then we said the blessing for the challah. Shabbat became an important tradition for my family as we always made sure to be home to celebrate together.

A well-known educator, John Dewey, believed that people learn by participating in experiences. He says “An Educative experience is an experience in which we make a connection between what we do to things and what happens to them" the value of an experience lies in the perception of relationships.” 

In the ECLC we make experience come to life. Students are learning Jewish tradition with a twist. They are learning how to connect these ancient Jewish traditions to modern day. Students are learning how Judaism can be found through theatre, through art, through technology, through Rabbinic and Hebrew text. Our students in 4-6 grade learn in our academies. These academies were designed as a way to bring extra-curricular activity and interest and connect it with Jewish learning. This program allows students to learn life skills that can be used outside of the classroom. Students develop the confidence and self-esteem to perform in a show, or students acquire the art skills to produce a piece representing Jewish history. They learn to keep up with the fast paced changing world of technology, and to study the ancient Rabbinic commentary and Hebrew text.

This year we are excited to announce that we received a partnership with the Federation. We believe these academy programs are the future for Jewish learning. With this partnership we will have the opportunity to strengthen and possibly expand our academy programs. In, addition we plan to share this model of learning with other interested schools. We invite you to visit our school, experience our program, and discover this new model of Hebrew school learning!

Thu, March 23 2023 1 Nisan 5783