Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, Bethesda, MD (Reconstructionist, 500 households)
Through "Honoring Our Holidays, Caring for Creation," a holiday-based Jewish environmental initiative, Adat Shalom is augmenting its Shabbat-based educational program and uniting members of all ages and demographics for experiential, relevant learning opportunities according to the rhythm of the Jewish year. Congregants join in home and web-based offerings before and after each of the shalosh regalim , supported by major "field trips" in connection with each holiday, underscoring one eco-aspect of the chag : e.g., an aquarium for Sukkot in light of its many water themes; an urban environmental justice tour for Pesach to consider the interconnection of social and ecological concerns; and a mountain hike for Shavuot. Additionally, the congregation is developing a " mishnah garden" on its grounds, tended by all congregants, for tactile teaching of the agricultural rhythms and realities embedded in Jewish holidays and texts.
Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, Chicago, IL (Orthodox, 400 households)
Project Mishpacha encourages members of each demographic within the shul to be part of a Mishpacha , a "family unit." Each Mishpacha is comprised of a cross-section of members: singles, couples without children, families with children of different age groups, and empty-nesting couples. Over the year, Mishpachot gather monthly for either a Shabbat meal or a Holiday Oneg. In addition, on monthly "Bring Your Mishpacha to Shul Day" on Shabbat morning, participants sit near each other at shacharit and a non-parental Mishpacha adult accompanies the child to Tot Shabbat instead of the parent. Twice a year, Mishpachot unite for a special chesed outing, experiential learning, and participation in cooperative efforts to give back to the community.
Beit Am Jewish Community, Corvallis, OR (Reconstructionist, 120 households)
Shabbat Keshet , usually Shabbat morning, sometimes late Shabbat afternoon, includes communal prayer and ritual, Talmud Torah for children and adults, separate and joint, and intergenerational learning. In addition, there is a monthly congregational holiday celebration, and potluck, home-based erev Shabbat programming -- monthly for families with youngest children, and twice for families with older children. The community will also be developing a congregational vision linking various aspects of the congregation (including curriculum) with the vision.
Beit Daniel, the Centre for Progressive Judaism Tel Aviv-Jaffa, IS (Reform, 300 households)
The New Heights project strengthens Jewish learning and living of Beit Daniel's preschool network families through holidays and Shabbat celebrations. Families enjoy engaging experiences that also challenge parents and children to carve out what is Jewish to them in their daily life, providing parents with accessible tools to continue the experience and the reflective exploration at home within the family framework. The project recognizes the importance of working in parallel with three main target audiences: (a) staff, preschool teachers and educators, (b) preschool families, (c) the congregation as a whole.
Beit Knesset Ashkenaz, Modi'in, IS (Orthodox, 126 households)
The Abraham Meets Dorothy: There's No Place Like Home Family Education and Chessed initiative recognizes that most congregants have left their home of origin in order to settle in the national historic home of the Jewish people. Centered around the theme of the "many homes we live in as Jews," the project is an integrated and systemic family education program combining formal and experiential study, social action and touring within Israel. Participants explore obligations to fellow family members by utilizing the central Jewish life cycle events as a springboard to impart core Jewish values such as tzedakah, bikkur cholim, chesed , etc.
Berman Synagogue, Rehovot, IS (Orthodox, 190 households)
The Rabbi Jacob Berman Center builds upon its community-based Shabbat and holiday celebrations and educational programs, in cooperation with the Rehovot municipality, the local (secular) community center, and the Rehovot branch of the Israeli scouts (both secular and religious groups), with the goal of enriching the knowledge and practice of non-observant Israeli families on their own terms and within a family-education context. The model stresses professional development for a collaborative team of the synagogue's lay leadership and representatives of the non-observant community, utilizing training with leaders from a broad spectrum of Jewish observance.
Beth Sholom Congregation, Elkins Park, PA (Conservative, 900 households)
Through the Shabbat Family Experience (SFE), in addition to regular Religious School hours, Beth Sholom's school meets one Shabbat a month together with Day School families and the larger congregational community. These Shabbatot include prayer components, meals, and are anchored by a piece of enduring knowledge. The whole synagogue community joins to study the same content at age appropriate levels in concurrent sessions, based on a year-long theme. Each family is given a book for their home library with a bookmark of pre- and post- reading assignments on the monthly topic. In addition, on alternative Shabbatot supplementary learning options enable students and congregants to take ownership of Jewish learning and living in community.
Beth El Congregation, Baltimore, MD (Conservative, 1700 households)
Chavurah Chadasha is an experiential Jewish family program that creates and encourages learning and doing in the homes, in the synagogue, and in the community with the entire family involved in developing comfort and pride in being Jewish. The goals of the program are tri-fold: (1) families form a chavurah , a community of learning and participation; (2) families are comfortable through knowledge and experience in the congregation's prayer services, and Shabbat and holiday rituals; and (3) families make Judaism a real integral part of the families' lives and not just something that happens in the congregation or school. Now in its third year, Chavurah Chadasha includes three cohorts totaling over 30 families.
Congregation Agudas Achim, Attleboro, MA (Reconstructionist, 120 household units)
The signature initiative, Shabbat B'Yachad , includes these components: a monthly Shabbat morning experience for the entire congregation including electives taught by staff and members, intergenerational learning and prayer, and a potluck Shabbat lunch; bi-monthly Shabbat B'Yachad Friday nights featuring a family service, catered dinner, and services with a speaker and child care, alternating each month with Shabbat B'Yachad at Home , home-based Shabbat celebrations organized according to demographic, led by trained " Shabbat Guides." These Shabbat-based programs are complemented by four pre-holiday intergenerational workshops for hands on and experiential learning for all ages; Keys to Your Jewish Home, providing accessible and useful tools for home observance; and periodic Shabbat skills workshops for adults. This year, Agudas Achim will create manuals and training materials detailing the "how to" of continuing these and other existing programs, investigate the use of technology to manage day-to-day communications, tracking, and management of programs, re-organize the board and bylaws to create leadership that can focus solely on governance issues, and create a 3-year thematic plan for programming. The goal is to increase overall community ownership of the approach by providing resources and support for professional staff.
Congregation Agudath Israel, Caldwell, NJ (Con. 932 households)
"Shabbat Fun-plex" is a diverse array of parallel early childhood/primary opportunities on Shabbat for preschool children and their parents. This new "track" supports ongoing Shabbat morning-based programming for children and adults. Options include dance, music, story time, social action/mitzvah heroes, peoplehood – Israel, World Jewry, friendship along with the weekly levels of "Torah for Tots" (for infant-2, and for 3-4-year-olds) and "Mini-Minyan" (5-6-year-olds) services. Also included in the "Shabbat Fun-plex" are adult options for prayer and study as well as family services.
Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury, MA (Reform, 340 households)
Through the BaDerech initiative, Beth El works towards enabling all congregants to explore their Jewish journeys and strive to live the words of the v'ahavta ( וְאָהַבְתָּ בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶּרֶךְ ) - to fully live and express a Jewish life while sitting at home and walking on the way - by creating seamless connections between expressions of Judaism in personal homes and Beth El, our communal home. On a programmatic level, efforts to work toward this goal focus on Preschool family learning programs, Shabbat family programming, support for interfaith families, and sharing stories through one-on-one community organizing techniques. The work of BaDerech is also advanced on a systemic level through communicating this vision to the entire congregation, breaking down organizational silos, developing new leadership, and strengthening partnerships between and among professional and lay leaders at Beth El.
Congregation Beth El, Bennington, VT (Reconstructionist, 105 households)
Through Green Mountain Shabbat v'Hagim, the congregation develops a model for intergenerational learning on the shalosh regalim (Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot) similar to its ongoing Shabbat-based program. The goal is to give families the tools in advance to explore and acquire more ownership of these holidays, and connect social justice projects to each holiday. In addition, they will continue improving their existing Green Mountain Shabbat and First Friday programming, which offer a mix of parallel and joint programming appealing to all ages and segments of the community, helping bridge the congregation's silos.
Congregation Beth Jacob, Columbus, OH (Orthodox, 200 households)
The LaDor VaDor Intergenerational Programming Initiative pairs younger congregational families with senior citizens in the community to foster friendships and relationships through monthly Shabbat onegs. Each oneg includes a meal, sharing stories, singing z'mirot , text study and interacting in a joyous environment. This is complemented by ongoing programming throughout the year as well as weekly visits from pre-schoolers to the local Jewish nursing home and senior center.
Congregation Beth Israel, Berkeley, CA (Modern Orthodox, 180 household units)
"Shabbat Shalem" (A Complete Shabbat) redefines CBI's approach to educational programming and seeks to enhance communal engagement on Shabbat within the congregation. It incorporates events planned by the Adult Education Committee, Youth Education Committee, Ritual Committee, Social Action Committee, the Gan Shalom pre-school, Board, and Rabbi, and organizes them around a central annual theme (such as prayer, Shabbat, Tikkun Olam ). Shabbat Shalem is celebrated eight times per year, and includes family services, learners' services, communal text studies (led by members), scholars-in-residence, children's musical havdalot , melaveh malkahs , and community-wide Shabbat lunches and dinners. This year, the community will focus on reorienting board and committees around the Shabbat Shalem vision, developing curriculum for pre-school families, and promoting a culture of sustainable learning among synagogue members.
Congregation B'nai Keshet, Montclair, NJ (Reconstructionist, 265 households)
Covenantal Shabbat Centered Community is an educational and worship experience bringing children and adults together each Shabbat morning. The approach merges adult learning, children's classes, worship, and communal meals, with the goal of fostering a strong connection to Shabbat and synagogue which will lay a foundation for lifelong learning and Shabbat participation. A substantial number of adults are becoming prayer leaders, adult education and religious school teachers, invigorating Shabbat mornings and connecting separate interest groups and slices of the congregation.
Congregation Kneses Tifereth Israel, Port Chester, NY (Conservative, 270 households)
JTime: Living in Jewish Time engages fifth grade students and their families in learning about and celebrating Sukkot, Tu B'shevat, and Shavuot, using interactive, inter-generational, participatory models. JTime brings families together at the synagogue and beyond the synagogue walls to enrich the participants' understanding and observance of these three holidays. In addition, each holiday unit includes a hands-on tikkun olam project to enhance the learners' holiday celebration and understanding of the value of healing the world. JTime is built on the successes of Got Shabbat! , KTI's program for fourth grade students and their families, which focuses on celebrating Shabbat within the context of family and community.
Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA (Conservative, 365 households)
Rimmonim is a congregation-wide project to heighten awareness of middot (core Jewish values) and the ways they can enhance and improve our lives. The foundation of the initiative is a twice a month Shabbat morning family education initiative geared towards children in grades K-2 and their parents (and open to all) focused on the study of middot (one per month) and their application to everyday life. Parents and other congregants volunteer to lead the various components of the Shabbat sessions -- tefillah , Torah story, family learning, and adult learning. Rimmonim also encompasses additional adult learning opportunities including a Middah of the Month blurb in the Shabbat announcement sheet, a facilitated monthly post-kiddush Shabbat learning session, and periodic Sunday post- minyan learning, as well as inter-generational social action projects for the entire congregation.
Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco, CA (Reform, 316 households)
Through "Galei Limudim"(Learning Wave) approach, adult congregants (parents and non-parents) study the theme and content of a religious school class's curriculum, developing a four-week mini-unit which they then teach to the relevant class in collaboration with a classroom teacher. Shaar Zahav runs the Galei Limudim approach twice a year in lower grades (2/3 and 4/5), training a core group of congregational education leaders to make the project leadership self-sustaining, and developing processes for identifying and recruiting Galei Limudim participants. In addition, a new Shabbat morning program, "Shabbat Simcha," features a learner's minyan, Shabbat learner's tracks, and lunch. The service introduces the congregation's new Siddur and familiarizes the community with the prayer service. The tracks focus on Judaism and the environment, middot , Torah and the themes of holiness, Jewish journeys and people of the book.
Cong. Shirat Hayam of the North Shore, Swampscott, MA (Conservative, 560 households)
"Z'manim" ("Times" ) is a core family education experience during Kabbalat Shabbat, Mincha, and Havdalah, intended to enhance and expand the congregation's already robust family-centered Shabbat morning educational program, which offers multiple worship/spiritual offerings, educational experiences, meals and socialization. Each Z'man includes a meal, an educational opportunity, and a celebration of the particular ‘time' itself – e.g. Kabbalat Shabbat/ Havdalah services. As a part of the formal education program, families will choose one or more Z'manim to attend, and will be involved in planning and production for each event, cooking, shopping, etc, as well as preparing to lead/co-lead worship segments tied into each of the Z'manim time periods. The intent is for the Z'manim committee to develop as its own community and begin (in year two) planning and organizing their own activities in partnership with the synagogue lay-leadership and professional staff.
Dat Minyan, Denver, CO (Orthodox, 100 households)
The Family Beit Midrash, a new paradigm for synagogue adult education focusing on family oriented, beit midrash- style learning, engages individuals in serious Torah study on Shabbat afternoon. Small groups of six-eight parents and children, grouped based on age, background and interest, meet with a madrich /coach before minchah Shabbat afternoon; madrichim have strong Judaic background and are trained by a program coordinator. Madrichim choose subject matter for their group as well as the nature of their group based on their own family situation; the madrich is a participant as much as everyone else, and enjoys the same benefit of learning with a family member. Groups place a heavy emphasis on text based learning and enhancement of textual skills and are established based on ability to find a coach for that respective group. The project plans to expand to other family structures beyond parent-child, creating study groups for spouses, for singles, and groups which integrate newly married couples with empty nesters.
Forest Hills Jewish Center, Forest Hills, NY (Conservative, 800 households)
In B'yachad, ten second and third grade families embark on a journey in which they live and learn about Judaism on Shabbat and holidays. Families commit to attend Shabbat morning services weekly, meeting during the hour preceding the Family Learners Minyan for bagels and learning. Student classes focus on parashat hashavuah , a key component of the bet and gimel class curriculum, and on games to reinforce Hebrew decoding; parent classes focus on the rhythm of the Jewish year with an emphasis on both synagogue and home observance. Following learning, B'yachad families join the larger community of the Family Learners Minyan, which also attracts the Adult B'nai Mitzvah class, day school families, adults eager to learn, and older members who seek the energy of the younger generation.
IKAR, Los Angeles, CA (Independent, 380 households)
Building upon Limudim , its weekly Shabbat morning family education program during which children and adults engage in both family-based and grade-based learning and davening , IKAR will develop its FEP program (family education plans), create more at-home learning resources, promote inter-generational parshah discussions during the community lunch and engage in a strategic planning process. Limudim connects parents of school-aged children consistently with a vibrant adult Shabbat morning prayer and study community.
Kavana Cooperative, Seattle, WA (Non-denominational, 70 households)
Kavana Cooperative is building upon two core Shabbat and holiday-based family education programs: (1) "Prep and Practice," a monthly Sunday program that helps families learn about upcoming holidays and prepare to celebrate them, both at home and with the community, and (2) Family Shabbat, a monthly Shabbat morning program geared towards young children and their parents, which includes an interactive, abbreviated Shabbat morning service, and the exploration of Jewish values through activities, stories and text study. To deepen and extend these approaches, this year Kavana will seek to implement a community-wide programmatic theme for the first time, and undergo a process to clarify the community's strategic vision and implement a strategic plan.
Kehillat Eshel Avraham, Beer-Sheva, IS (Masorti, 150 households)
Eshel Avraham seeks to integrate its pre-school and veteran families into a cohesive community by : (1) training kindergarten staff in a family oriented as opposed to a child oriented approach to education; (2) educating its active laity to see the inherent benefit in the preschool families as a part of the community (beyond the economic aspect); and (3) building together with the pre-school families and the laity an experiential continuum that leads both constituencies to celebrate together the high points of Jewish time in a way that gives new meaning to everyone, as well as special projects to realize together important Jewish values.
Kehillat Kol Haneshamah, Jerusalem, IS (Reform, 340 households)
KKH's project aims to increase the long-term synagogue participation and home-based Jewish practice of Israeli families in its nursery school ( gan ), who despite their affiliation have either little interest or little knowledge of Jewish practice in a liberal framework. The strategy seeks to transform these parents into partners in creating a meaningful Shabbat experience that will answer their needs and introduce them to new ways of celebrating Shabbat within the liberal context. This year the congregation will present its programs to all new and second-year gan parents as a supplement to the gan and invite them to take part, and form a group of parents who actually choose to be kehila members, using the group to reach out to the larger community of parents, building a social group out of these parents, and offering training and encouraging their own ideas and initiatives. Through programs of Shabbat enrichment, community learning and teaching materials, the kehila hopes to bring more people out of the "consumer" group and engage them in Jewish life from a place where they feel more comfortable with a range of Jewish rituals and synagogue life.
Kehillat Ramot Zion, Jerusalem, IS (Conservative, 180 households)
Ramot Zion's initiative offers young families in Northern Jerusalem involvement in Jewish learning and practice around Shabbat, holidays and national commemoration days, values and tikkun olam. The target population, mainly secular Israelis, are often estranged to Jewish practice and feel threatened by the idea. The project seeks to break the barriers of fear and disdain, and bring a positive experience through midweek and Shabbat family activities for all ages - children, parents, teens, and grandparents. Family activity is incorporated into the ongoing synagogue culture, aligning the synagogue at large with our goals and encouraging integration of the new families into the congregation. The activities include: Friday night kabbalat shabbat programming, combined with the main service; Shabbat services for parents and children; tefila study sessions for parents on Shabbat; biweekly midweek parent-children club, with joint workshops on Shabbat, holidays and values; activities in the local kindergartens; a teen club; holiday activities for families, and a family empowerment Shabbat retreat.
Kehillat Zichron Yaakov, Zichron Yaakov, IS (Orthodox, 65 households)
The Du-Siach initiative features monthly shabbatonim exploring a dimension of an annual theme for the congregation. During the week before the shabbaton , the theme is raised in an introductory evening class and an email listing web-based resources. The shabbaton begins with Friday night home-based dinners featuring structured conversation; Shabbat morning the conversations transition to a public dialogue further exploring the theme in the context of the morning's ritual and liturgy. Divrei Torah by an adult and child and interactive children-centered programming address the theme, which is also the focus of conversation over Shabbat lunch. On a quarterly basis, the community engages in an 'Erev Shabbat'/ Friday-social-action-day as a full community, connecting the broader community with the work of the community's Bar/Bat Mitzvah Chessed club. Holiday programming focuses outward on the richness of Israeli diversity and the ritual traditions of the Diaspora, providing opportunities to engage the local older generation.
Kehillat YOZMA, Modi'in, IS (Progressive/Reform, 300 households)
Kehillat YOZMA will expand its systemic outreach to those families who initially come for the educational opportunities offered by its elementary school. This approach is based upon using the school as a means of drawing the parents and children into the greater YOZMA community, exposing them to the beauty of Shabbat and holiday celebrations, integrating the children in YOZMA's youth group TELEM, and involving parents and children in YOZMA's rich social action activities. By building a program of special events throughout the school year specifically targeting the school family population, YOZMA seeks to increase school families' and intergenerational participation in the weekly Shabbat services, in adult Beit Midrash and in the celebration of life cycle events (baby naming ceremony, bat/bar mitzvah etc) in the synagogue community. " Gesharim : Bridges to Jewish Life," builds bridges between preschool and elementary school families and the YOZMA community at large.
Kesher Israel - The Georgetown Synagogue, Washington DC (Orthodox, 270 households)
"Shul Without Walls" takes advantage of Kesher's location in D.C., an area full of meaningful sites, many of which provide messages compatible with Jewish middot . A series of "treks" to local sites are paired with activities, lessons, and/or lectures highlighting the Jewish significance of the specific locations, integrating adult, children's, and family-based learning. Examples include a trek to the National Arboretum for Tu B'Shvat, a trek to the Albert Einstein Memorial to discuss traditional Judaism's interface with modern science, and a trek to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to discuss Breishit through different eyes.
North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson Station, NY (Conservative, 430 households)
North Shore Jewish Center is enhancing the development and implementation of Congregation Under Renewal, a multifaceted approach to engaging all branches of the congregation in Shabbat and holiday-based experiential learning. The integration of the congregation's SynaplexTM program with family Shabbat celebrations and Family Kehillah, a family led Shabbat service held twice monthly, supplements Chaggim Chayyim - Holidays Come Alive !, a holiday-based family education initiative. Five grades (bet, gimel, dalet, hay, and vav) are fully involved in Chaggim Chayyim , with about 38 family-based holiday educational programs per year. Components of parallel classes, textual learning, greater parent involvement in leading programs and teaching their children, Jewish celebration and practice accompany addressing Jewish parenting and social integration issues. In addition, Leaders for Tomorrow develops vision driven leaders for the congregation by coaching them through a hands on project.
North Shore Synagogue, Syosset, NY (Reform, 794 households)
" J.ello – J ewish E xperiential L iving and L earning O pportunities project " integrates family learning and celebration of Shabbat and holidays into all three primary grades of the Religious School. J.ello promotes Jewish living and learning through active participation at the synagogue and at home, emphasizing hands-on experience, competency, practice and celebration. Building on two years' success with a prototype model called ShareShabbat and a pilot J.ello program with 18 second grade families, the expanded J.ello program will become the sole and normative offering for K-2 families.
Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue, Berlin, GE (Masorti, 250 households)
The congregation is expanding its Shabbat and holiday educational engagement for children and parents through Tefilat Yeladim (weekly Shabbat childrens' services, monthly family Kabbalat Shabbat, the creation of a children's siddur), enhanced holiday educational programming for families, introducing a pre-bar/bat mitzvah family educational system, and intensive, congregation-wide educational programming before and on the holidays of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Reform Temple of Forest Hills, Forest Hills, NY (Reform, 343 households)
"SHABBAT 2.0" engages 5-15 K-2 families in an intensive exploration of Shabbat. Families commit to this intensive year of "doing" Shabbat in order to gain tools to create or reinvigorate their family Shabbat observance, gathering twice monthly on Shabbat morning for intergenerational learning and tefilah. Families are given "Shabbat baskets" to help them facilitate their home Shabbat experience, and record their experiences of practice of their Shabbat home celebration in journals. Participants help guide each other on their Shabbat journeys by sharing their own special observances and memories of observances and help broaden the greater community's understanding and connection to Shabbat. "SHABBAT 2.0" enlists a cohort of veteran family members, empty nesters, and Shabbat Community to serve as role models.
Temple Adat Elohim, Thousand Oaks, CA (Reform; 620 households)
B'yachad , an alternative to the traditional two-day a week Religious School, offers an equal number of Hebrew instructional hours as the regular program in one session a week on Shabbat. It also includes a Family Shabbat Experience once per month, Friday or Saturday, exploring this year's theme "Middot : Jewish Values" through family oriented activities. On a monthly basis, families also attend a Tikkun Olam (Social Action) Program on Sundays includes off-site learning and doing of the monthly mitzvah. In addition students will participate in the Regional 4th/5th or 6th/7th Grade weekend retreat. Families in B'yachad join to enjoy active learning experiences with the purpose of inspiring a connection between Jewish education and modern life.
Temple Beth El of South Orange County, Aliso Viejo, CA (Reform, 658 households)
Bayit to Bayit is a Jewish engagement experience for families which serves as an alternative to traditional Religious School. Families engage in at least one communal Shabbat or one holiday celebration each month, in addition to two Sunday learning programs at the synagogue. The programming involves joint and parallel learning for adults and children, providing age-appropriate Jewish experiences at the synagogue and support for home activities and observances. Outside of the synagogue, Bayit To Bayit activities include weekly electronic materials for family study and discussion at home, social action projects and chavurah activities. Non- Bayit to Bayit adult congregants are encouraged to attend the adult study sessions on Bayit to Bayit Sundays. Bayit to Bayit adult participants are encouraged to attend synagogue adult education programming. Bayit to Bayit -style Shabbat experiences have expanded to include the rest of the congregation through SynaplexTM, Religious School, family education days and connection with the Caring Committee and Green Team. This year, the entire Religious School population will participate in the Shabbat, holiday, social action and electronic study aspects of Bayit to Bayit .
Temple Beth Shalom, Long Beach, CA (Conservative, 175 households)
The Shabbat Hospitality Initiative (SHI) is a multi-pronged, integrated approach to renewing Shabbat. The lead effort is a Shabbat outreach initiative one Friday night a month that encourages members to have Shabbat home dinners with multiple guests. The congregation provides Shabbat trained ritual and social facilitators who work with hosts to create an interactive and joyful Shabbat table experience in these homes. This program, Shalom Aleichem , encourages sharing Shabbat ( hachnasat orchim ) home meals with fellow congregants, and dissemination of Shabbat practices and ritual skills throughout the congregation. The Shavua Tov Shabbat Afternoon initiative brings monthly communal Shabbat experience to families. Meeting at the synagogue, Shavua Tov is a family celebration and learning experience centered on the Shabbat traditions of the afternoon. A joyful Third Shabbat meal, havdalah , and family education sessions build community and familiarity with Shabbat practices and values. SHI combines these programs but the broader aim is to energize the entire congregation and inspire a new generation of leaders.
Temple Beth Sholom, Roslyn Heights, NY (Conservative, 875 households)
The Morei Derech Beth Sholom Project engages families looking for greater Jewish involvement by pairing them with Morei Derech, guides or "Jewish Life Coaches" who help these families connect the synagogue and their homes and navigate their Jewish journeys. The first group of Morei Derech were identified and trained in the first year, using a training curriculum with four components: Shabbat, Holidays, "The Mitzvah Initative" and Coaching Methodologies. Simultaneous to the training of the Morei Derech , synagogue leadership was engaged a parallel learning track, learning to see their roles as Jewish leaders, in a sense becoming the "Ultimate Morei Derech" of the congregation.
Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA (Reform, 1050 households)
Shabbat B'yachad is an innovative approach to family learning and Shabbat celebration in which participating families gather two Shabbat mornings and one Shabbat evening a month at the Temple. On Shabbat morning the families pray together, teach each other Torah and experience parallel learning for adults and children on middot . On Friday evenings, families learn about Shabbat and join the rest of the congregation for services. Once a month families celbrate Shabbat together in their own homes using discussion guides to facilitate Shabbat family learning.
Temple Judea, Coral Gables, FL (Reform, 608 households)
Mishpacha Moments , an alternative or supplement to Sunday school for students in kindergarten through third grade and their families, helps parents and children make Shabbat morning a cherished time together. Each Mishpacha Moments session provides the opportunity for children and parents to participate in a musical family Shabbat service, engage in a family educational experience and socialize and learn with other families. This year, over 23 Shabbat morning sessions, learning experiences in Mishpacha Moments focus on Torah and the foundational stories of the Jewish people.
Temple Rodef Sholom, San Rafael, CA (Reform, 1150 households)
" Kol HaMishpacha ," an alternative to traditional religious school model, engages entire families in havurot committed to regular study, consistent home and communal Shabbat, holiday observance, and the creation of a shared tikkun olam project. The first kvutzah , Chalutzim , meets two Sundays and one Erev Shabbat monthly continues into its fourth year, while four kvutzot meet on Shabbat morning. In Kol HaMishpacha Gesher , 30 seventh grade families meet for 18 Shabbat mornings to learn the meaning and holiness of the bar/bat mitzvah passage. Several times during the course of the year when there is no Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the main sanctuary, Gesher families join the congregation in the main service in an effort to integrate the silos. Innovations for the fourth year of the project include a 6th grade KH group on Shabbat morning focusing on Tefilah, and three Community Shabbat mornings, when of the KH Shabbat morning groups will join for song and prayer, including Tot Shabbat and Adult Torah Study.
The Temple Congregation B'nai Jehudah, Overland Park, KS (Reform, 1125 households)
Members of the congregation are creating IJPs (Individual Jewish Plans) for the purpose of facilitating their personal discovery of Jewish meaning, connection and continuity. This innovative personalized approach focuses first on families with young children, with the goal of leveraging the emotional access to young families created by Shabbat and holiday and home and communal experiences in order to move toward an integration of learning, tikkun olam , and prayer in a multi-generational environment. Phase One involved developing and training a cadre of See-ot (guides) to work with individuals/families to articulate their hopes, dreams, fears and Jewish desires and through active listening and reflective responses together develop specific actions or programs that address those need, as well as to connect them to others with complimentary interest and needs.
United Synagogue of Hoboken, Hoboken, NJ (Conservative, 250 households)
"My Jewish Neighborhood" facilitates lay-led, home-based celebrations of Shabbat and holidays by connecting Jewish households with other Jewish households in their immediate neighborhoods. Hoboken's compact urban environment allows the re-creation of some aspects of the past tight-knit urban immigrant Jewish community, where family and Jewish celebration were an organic part of the life of a city block. Hoboken and environs are divided into six neighborhoods, with each synagogue member part of a 'sub-community' of just a few blocks. Each neighborhood hosts a series of hands-on intergenerational Shabbat and holiday events in individual homes, planned by synagogue staff and lay leadership and carried out by neighborhood residents, after training for these lay hosts and facilitators. These Jewish events "around the corner" lowers the barriers to participation for marginally affiliated Jews and those who are new to the community. Additional events throughout the year bring people from the various neighborhoods together for study, celebration and an end-of-year Shabbaton.
Young Israel of West Hempstead, West Hempstead, NY (Orthodox, 540 households)
This project seeks to reinvigorate Shabbat observance at the individual, family and communal levels by developing a curriculum and program addressing three major aspects of Shabbat observance: tefillah , basic hashkafah , rituals and ceremonies. A congregation-wide curriculum and related programs address the the obstacles related to increasing the spirituality of Shabbat observance for Orthodox families. The prayer curriculum includes weekly home discussion at the Shabbat table, followed by weekly communal programs such as tefillah workshops. "Graduates" of the training may lead services in all of the minyanim, and several times a year accomplished teens lead the services in the main sanctuary. The hashkafah curriculum is geared to teens and allows for potentially difficult discussions with rabbis, young adult mentors, parents and other family members. The "Bring Spirituality Back to Shabbos" curriculum focuses on different aspects of the Shabbat meal, including Kiddush, Hamotzi, Zemirot and Havdallah; the curriculum divides key topics into learning segments for all ages and backgrounds; families learn together from a sourcebook each week at the Shabbat table, reinforced by independent learning with community speakers, and experiential activities on the same theme. All six minyanim receive the same information and experience it together, laying the groundwork for intergenerational discussions and integrating all aspects of the shul.
Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, MD (Reform, 1350 household units)
"Etz Chayim Jewish Identity and Experience Project"
Agudas Achim will double its current required Shabbat School program from four to eight Shabbatot a year, adding additional learning and gathering opportunities before and after Shabbat worship, and link the project to its "Celebrate Shabbat!" initiative, a SynaplexTM-like approach to creating multiple gateways to adult Jewish engagement on Shabbat. The approach will be led by Innovator Award co-recipients Kim Bodemer and Annette Lawson.
Beit Tefilah Israeli, Tel Aviv, IS (Non-denominational, 100 household units)
"Family Learning towards the publication of a Family Siddur"
This self-described secular Israeli kehillah will continue building its family-based Shabbat community through family-based study and activities (family Kabbalat Shabbat services, family Shabbat meals, and joint learning for adults and adults around havdalah). Through these learning frameworks involving children, parents, and the two together, the congregation aims to create in a context leading to and shaping the production of an original Israeli Family siddur. By combining Jewish tradition and contemporary secular Israeli culture in a family learning environent, Beit Tefilah Israeli aims to create a model of family-spiritual-communal experience uniquely tailored to the needs of secular Israelis that will intensify the family learning experience and the Shabbat experience in the congregation and at home.
Beth Am Israel, Penn Valley, PA (Conservative, 370 household units)
"Musical Engagement in Judaism"
Beth Am Israel intends to extend its existing family-based Shabbat educational program by more thoroughly and systemically utilizing music and musical education to create multiple points of engagement for children, parents and families on Shabbat and holidays, utilizing congregants as teachers and musical guides in the process. The congregation plans to pair veteran members as mentors to families in the education program, and train additional members to serve as musical guides on Shabbat.
Beth El, Baltimore, MD (Conservative, 1700 household units)
Through this pilot project, a group of families will augment their children's religious school experience with home based family learning and hands-on experiences in the context of familial and communal Shabbat and holiday celebration, Hebrew, tikkun olam projects, field trips and a Shabbaton. The project will significantly increase the expectation of parental engagement while providing flexibility and home-based learning in small groups.
Beth El, Bennington, VT (Reconstructionist, 100 household units)
"Green Mountain Shabbat"
Beth El will work towards expanding its Shabbat-based intergenerational learning model, which roots children's family learning in a Shabbat and holiday context in various contexts: home-based Shabbat and holiday observance and meals, Shabbat evening communal meals and learning programs, Shabbat morning family services and children's learning, tot Shabbat, teen-led services and divrei torah, Shabbat afternoon learning involving teens and older members, and integrating adult, family, and children's learning around havdalah on a consistent basis.
Beth El of South Orange County, Aliso Viejo, CA (Reform, 657 household units)
"Bayit to Bayit"
Participating families in this alternative track to religious school will be grouped in havurot of six-eight families, engaging in at least one Shabbat and one holiday celebration each month, in addition to two Sunday learning programs. The programming will involve joint and parallel learning for adults and children, and will be augmented by online learning and networking. Participants will include both families with children (religious school and day school families) and without, and will receive mentoring from more senior or experienced congregants. Each havurah will create its own social action project and function as a tzedakah collective.
Beth El Temple, West Hartford, CT (Conservative, 984 household units)
"Shabbat Babayit Havurah"
Beth El will develop an intensive track for families, creating a havurah for families with children in grades 3-5 designed to build parental confidence, provide tools for Shabbat observance, and strengthen Shabbat concepts taught in religious school. Havurah members will commit to attending monthly Shabbat family services and dinners, participating monthly in Shabbat dinners, and engaging in experiential learning at other times on Shabbat. Older, more experienced adults and families will serve as mentors to havurah members, and parents in the havurah will be offered other opportunities for learning on an adult level. The experience will culminate with a Shabbaton synthesizing the year's learning.
Beth Israel, Charlottesville, VA (Reform, 400 household units)
The congregation seeks to deepen the engagement of families in Shabbat and holidays by creating havurot of three-five families of comparable needs, interests, backgrounds (religious dynamics, geographic, ages of children, etc.) who will, with the guidance of a Jewish educator, identify their goals for broadening their experience of Shabbat and holiday worship in the home. These groups will meet monthly in each other's homes for Shabbat celebrations and attend Shabbat or holiday services monthly, choosing the service most appropriate to their family needs. In addition, Shabbat Connections will provide written and online Shabbat guides for families, with all the resources needed to deepen these Shabbat experiences in their homes and in the synagogue.
Beth Israel, Omaha, NE (Orthodox, 275 household units)
"Lev Banim al Avotam - Hearts of Children upon their Parents"
In a community in which children often are more Jewishly knowledgeable than parents, the congregation will seek ways in which the younger generation can be empowered to serve as an educational resource for adults, specifically in the context of Shabbat and holidays. In addition, it will enhance its multigenerational Shabbat educational programs to help lead families into a pattern of ongoing engagement in the rhythm of Jewish living, and develop a curriculum for parents parallel to the local day school program of study.
Beth Israel, Owings Mills, MD (Conservative, 850 household units)
"Project Chesed: Creating a Caring Community"
Beth Israel will expand its engagement of families on Shabbat and holidays through study and exploration of the theme of chesed in the context of communal Shabbat practice, and Shabbat afternoon joint parent-child activities, adult study, intergenerational programming, as well as "chagim shel chesed": a systematic program using each of the festivals and holidays to highlight a different value from the spectrum of chesed and social action in connection with the holiday. Resource material will be developed to highlight chesed/tikkun olam experience for each holiday for each weekly Torah portion. Families will be expected to participate in at least three chesed/tikkun olam activities during the year, related to a holiday or to the Torah portion, using the resource material as their guide.
Beth Sholom, Potomac, MD (Orthodox, 450 household units)
"Ambassadors from Within"
Beth Sholom will create a pilot project engaging up to ten families in a program of immersive Jewish education oriented to making each of them more Jewishly self-sufficient; these families would become mentors to future cohorts. Each family will regularly attend classes offered on Shabbatot and Chagim, attend bi-weekly learning sessions focusing on Jewish holidays and Shabbat and would be geared to the practical experiences of Shabbat in the Home and Shabbat in the Synagogue., and participate in a variety of experiential Jewish learning. Mentor families will guide each family and share a significant number of Shabbatot and chagim.
B'nai Israel, Millburn, NJ (Conservative, 525 household units)
"Kehilat B'nai Yisrael"
B'nai Israel seeks to systemically integrate developmentally disabled Jews as full participants in Jewish living, expanding its Shabbat and holiday services and programming designed to be inclusive of developmentally disabled teens and young adults (mostly autistic) and their families, utilizing adult and teen volunteers and mentors, creating an appropriate and user-friendly siddur, integrating adult learning and communal meals into these Shabbatot, and developing an integrated, fully accessible family Shabbat retreat.
B'nai Jeshurun, New York, NY (Nondenominational, 1800 family units)
"Reach for Shabbat II"
B'nai Jeshurun will engage a cohort of families in Reach for Shabbat 2, designed to strengthen the bridge between children's religious school learning and the experience of Jewish family living on Shabbat, regularly engaging families in Shabbatot in which they attend services, meals and programming together, in the synagogue, on and off-site retreat, and in homes. These Shabbat experiences are led and taught by the congregations' rabbis and educators with increasing leadership by parents and children over the course of the year. The initiative aims to expand the lens of Jewish practice beyond Shabbat through a values-based curriculum, providing the textual foundation to non-ritual, interpersonal and social aspects of Jewish living.
Emanu-El, Miami Beach, FL (Conservative, 265 household units)
Emanu-El seeks to foster an inclusive, intergenerational community of Shabbat learning and celebration by training mentors to lead communal Shabbat celebrations, creating resources for such lay leaders, and integrating intergenerational Shabbat celebration and learning throughout the congregation. Intergenerational groups of 12-15 household units, called "Malachei Shabbat" (Shabbat Angels/Messengers) will receive intensive year-long training on different Shabbat services and meals (Friday night, Shabbat morning, and seudah shlishit/havdalah), host Shabbat meals for the community, organize and lead a year-end congregational Shabbat retreat, and explore different ways of integrating Shabbat into their lives, identifying obstacles and discussing ways to overcome them. The program will be expanded by adapting the Malachei Shabbat mentoring curriculum into a workbook and CD for self-led family or adult study. In addition, Shabbat services will be adapted to promote greater intergenerational participation.
Sha'ar Zahav, San Francisco, CA (Reform, 316 household units)
"Expanding Intergenerational Learning: Design Teams & Community Learning Havdalah"
Sha'ar Zahav will expand its "Design Team" approach, in which adult congregants (parents and non-parents) study the theme and content of a religious school class's curriculum, developing a four-week mini-unit which they then teach to the relevant class in collaboration with a classroom teacher. At the end of the mini-unit, the Design Team holds an extended day of learning on Shabbat, including team members and class families. Shaar Zahav will expand the Design Team approach to run three times a year in each lower grade (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5), with one team working in each of three theme units each year. It will also train a core group of congregational education leaders to make the project leadership self-sustaining, develop processes for identifying and recruiting Design Team participants, and create a manual as a tool and support for future congregational education leaders.
Sha'arai Shomayim, Lancaster, PA (Reform, 340 household units)
"Thematic Approach to Family Learning and Practice"
Having initiated a family-based approach to Shabbat celebration involving parent/adult Shabbat workshops and at-home and congregational Shabbat experiences, the congregation will launch a pilot project involving group of families committed to celebrating Shabbat communally and as a family on a monthly basis, while learning on and participating in the three pilgrimage holidays (Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot. The pilot will serve as a catalyst to broaden and deepen Shabbat and holiday engagement throughout all facets of the congregation. Because the synagogue is located in an agricultural area, the project promises to model for other rural and exurban synagogues how to thematically link Shabbat and chagim with issues relating to agriculture, hunger, and connection to the land of Israel.
Shomrei Emunah, Montclair, NJ (Conservative, 300 household units)
"Sacred Time/Sacred Space: Shabbat Matters"
The congregation will recruit a cohort of day school and public school families with younger (seven or under) children, matching them with mentor families who will host them Shabbat dinners, lunch or havdalah throughout the course of the year. Participants will engage in two Shabbat experiences each month, one synagogue-based experience (involving adult learning and a children's activity, a joint family activity, and a meal) and another in their own or their mentor family's home. Participants will join in a monthly intergenerational, family-based service, and create a family journal throughout the year, recording each family member's responses to their Shabbat experiences.
Sinai Synagogue, South Bend, IN (Conservative, 170 household units)
"Family Education at Sinai Today (FEAST)"
A congregation which has already developed a successful family-based Shabbat educational program, Sinai seeks to increase the intensity and meaningfulness of its families' Shabbat experience and improve the quality of its education program through enhancing the musical aspect of its approach (through Shabbat z'mirot and non-instrumental music during other times on Shabbat); developing more creative modes of teaching Torah; recruiting and training teachers, most of whom are drawn from within the community; and building build upon its success on Shabbat morning by developing similar programming for Shabbat afternoon and motzei Shabbat.
West End Synagogue, New York, NY (Reconstructionist, 307 household units)
"Bonim B'Yachad: Building Jewish Life Together"
The congregation will expand some current pilot projects, developing a monthly Shabbat morning program for pre-B'nai Mitzvah children and their parents, adding a monthly Shabbat morning family service/program targeted to families with younger children, and developing four family-based learning and tikkun olam programs centered on holidays. These will be expanded to include additional opportunities for socializing, prayer, social action, and study emphasizing the value of Jewish traditions to daily life. While focusing on families with school-age children, the programs will be designed to attract diverse groups within the congregation.
LEGACY HERITAGE INNOVATION PROJECT 2007-08 RENEWED GRANTEE CONGREGATIONS
Agudas Achim, Attleboro, MA (Reconstructionist, 115 household units)
Agudas Achim will double its current required Shabbat School program from four to eight Shabbatot a year, adding additional learning and gathering opportunities before and after Shabbat worship, and link the project to its "Celebrate Shabbat!" initiative, a SynaplexTM-like approach to creating multiple gateways to adult Jewish engagement on Shabbat. The approach will be led by Innovator Award co-recipients Kim Bodemer and Annette Lawson.
Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA (Reform, 1430 household units)
Beth Am will build upon its history of congregational, lifelong learning and commitment to systemic change through "Va'ad Lashon Ivrit," integrating Hebrew learning across children and adult learning, employing Hebrew as a unifying theme and value in other aspects of congregational life such as worship, committee and board work, and social justice activities. The initiative will be led by Innovator Award recipient Ellen Lefkowitz.
Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury, MA (Reform, 350 household units)
Beth El will expand its family education approach through "BaDerech: Along Our Way," which will engage congregants at critical "crossroads" or specific lifecycle stages in their Jewish journey (such as parenting young children and mourning), utilizing seasoned congregants as volunteer "guides." BaDerech will involve creating new family learning materials and approaches while strengthening the sense of the congregation itself as a family whose members are responsible to and for each other. By organizing the family learning through a focus on life stages rather than grades, it will create a more systemic approach engaging the entire congregation. BaDerech will be led by Innovator Award recipient Nina Price.
B'nai Keshet, Montclair, NJ (Reconstructionist, 250 household units)
B'nai Keshet will expand its grade-based family education program built around five core values of Jewish spiritual peoplehood by launching "Values in Action," engaging the entire congregation in learning and practice framed by one of these core values the year, with the congregation addressing a different value each year over the course of a five-year period. This value will create an overarching theme to all congregational activities, inform meetings, adult learning, Shabbat and holiday observance, and create a synergy between the religious school and the rest of the congregation. The project will be led by Innovator Award recipient David Weinstein.
Beth Shalom, Seattle, WA (Conservative, 375 household units)
Beth Shalom will launch "Machon Mishpachah," an alternative model of family education in which parents of children with younger children will commit themselves and their families to a two year process of immersion in Jewish learning and living, being mentored by a separate cohort of volunteer congregants with greater Jewish expertise and experience. The mixture of experiences will include parallel and separate learning, regular Shabbat meals and study, "tiyulim" engaging the families in congregational and communal programs, and gemilut hasadim opportunities within the congregation and the community. It will be spearheaded by Innovator Award recipient Irit Eliav.
Community Synagogue, Rye, NY (Reform, 460 household units)
Community Synagogue has engaged in envisioning a new model for its religious school through The RE-IMAGINE Project, a strategic visioning process through the Experiment in Congregational Education. Its proposal calls for embedding a weekly family learning program in the context of the congregation's Shabbat morning celebration, engaging parents on a weekly basis in adult learning parallel to their children and integrating both the adult and children's learning with Shabbat, holidays, and the congregation's ongoing tikkun olam work. The initiative will be led by Laurie Landes, Innovator Award recipient.
Emanuel Synagogue, West Hartford, CT (Conservative, 660 household units)
Emanuel Synagogue plans to build upon its extensive family education program ("Torat Chayyim") through Haverim BaTorah, an initiative to nurture hevrutot, learning partnerships between more and less experienced Jewish learners, which will also function as mentoring relationships. The congregation plans to strengthen its sense of community through the hevruta-based study of Jewish texts, transforming the congregation into a family of families with relationships built upon and informed by text learning. It will be overseen by Innovator Award recipient Judith Fox.
Kehillat Lev Shalem, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, Woodstock, NY
(Reconstructionist, 345 household units)
Through "Creating a Shabbat Community," Lev Shalem intends to build upon its Family School, expanding dramatically its Shabbat-based component and integrating it with other elements of the congregation's Shabbat community. Participating families will take part in three Friday night Shabbat gatherings, three full day Shabbatonim, a full weekend retreat, and at least one home-based Friday night communal Shabbat celebration. The project will be led by Rabbi Jonathan Kligler and Rachel Becker, the congregation's Innovator Award recipients.
Kol HaLev, University Heights, OH (Reconstructionist, 170 household units)
Kol HaLev has initiated "Hagiga," an innovative, twice monthly family-based Shabbat morning learning program integrating day school and congregational school children and parents in informal education using a common theme and topic, and involving the entire community on Shabbat afternoon in learning on the same theme. It plans to expand Hagiga by having the entire congregation studying the same topic as the families, increasing the number of community-wide learning events on Shabbat afternoon, adding a web-based component to the program, and culminating with a congregational retreat on the theme.
Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA (Conservative, 330 household units)
Netivot Shalom will build upon its successful Shabbat morning program for pre-school families by creating "Rimmonim," a parent-facilitated program of learning and celebration two Shabbat mornings and one Sunday morning each month, organized around the study of 20 middot, or Jewish values. Parents will be trained as teachers of these values and the initiative will integrate day school and religious school families in the context of the communal celebration of Shabbat. The initiative will be led by Innovator Award winner Catherine Shadd.
North Shore Jewish Center, Port Jefferson, NY (Conservative, 490 household units)
North Shore Jewish Center will initiative "Project Chagim Chayyim," a Shabbat and holiday-focused family learning initiative that will engage parents and children in parallel learning and link that learning with the congregational celebration of Shabbat and holidays. Growing out of the congregation's strategic planning and visioning process through the Re-Imagine Project, it will engage all branches of the congregation's committee structure and be led by Innovator Award recipient Carol Winton.
Rodef Shalom, San Rafael, CA (Reform, 1150 household units)
Rodef Shalom will expand its excellent traditional, grade-based family education programming by creating an alternative model to its congregational school, "Kol HaMishpacha," in which families will elect to participate in neighborhood based havurot of ten families committed to regular study, consistent home and communal Shabbat and holiday observance, and creation of a shared tikkun olam project. The pilot project will create three such neighborhood havurot of ten families each. The initiative will be led by Innovator Award recipient Irene Resnikoff.
Suburban Temple-Kol Ami, University Heights, OH (Reform, 450 household units)
Through "L'Chayim! Learning for Life," Suburban Temple-Kol Ami will train congregants who have engaged in serious adult Jewish learning over the previous three years to serve as mentors for families, helping them develop personalized learning plans, guiding them in home and communal Jewish practice, and sharing periodic communal celebrations of learning. The initiative is an outgrowth of several years of congregation-wide visioning and planning, and will be directed by Innovator Award co-recipients Debbie Bram and Lisa Kollins.
Tiferet Israel, Malden, MA (Reform, 175 households)
Through its Partnered Education Program (P.E.P.), the congregation plans to build upon its grade-level family education program by moving towards a model which engages parents as full partners in the educational process, reorganizes the synagogue governance to reflect better an integrated, multigenerational program of formal and informal learning, with the aim of a unified approach to worship, learning, social action and community building. The PEP approach will also focus on home-based learning and living through training and the use of congregant mentors. The project will be led by Innovator Award recipients Deborah Noah, Lauren Cherkas, and Sally Gordon.