The Jewish Studies Cheder Programme engages students in learning about Jewish studies within the context of broader life and their positions in it. The lessons are dynamic, all inclusive and function with incredible open mindedness towards anything that is contributed in class. We engage everybody, yet also cover a particular point that the students go home with; to think about, discuss further and if desired, continue to research.
This year each lesson was focused towards ‘Between Heaven and Earth’; a topic that brings together knowledge of the past, recognition of the present and evolving towards the future. We learn through play, acting, discussing, crafts and debates. Depending on the week and its nearest holiday/bible portion, the lessons always progress by reconciling biblical expectations within realistic contemporary life without judgement or justifications.
A recent example in covering Passover: what does it mean to be free? How do we identify with slavery in the distant past, recently, and currently? How are we seen to be slaves to ourselves? How do we imagine our future in embracing freedoms and what can we accomplish towards that.
The students range in ages of approximately 9 to 14. Although the lesson content and dynamics seem to stretch the mind, they are age and range appropriate. I am grateful for the privilege of working with the students present and for the opportunity in working with such a marvellous community. The atmosphere is always palpable and makes Shabbat mornings more special by being part of it.