Shalom and Bruchim HaBaim! Hello and welcome! Opening day is Sunday, September 10!
Religious School Hours / Schedule
Grades K – 7 – Sundays 9 a.m. – noon
Grades 4 – 6 - Tuesdays 4 – 6 p.m.
Grades 7 - 12 - Tuesdays 6 – 8 p.m. (dinner included)
A letter from the director…
Dear families, I have been a part of the University Synagogue family for two years and am very eager to begin my third in our magnificent Religious School. I have developed relationships with your children and am looking forward to meeting all the new ones who will pass through our doors this year.
We often hear a lot about the fact that our children are the future. They are future leaders, future change-makers, and the most importantly in our context, the future of Judaism. As educators, we often quote Janusz Korczak when he referenced children and their futures: “Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people of today… they are entitled to be taken seriously. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be – the unknown person inside each of them is the hope for the future.” We quote him, but fail to back it up.
We cringe at the pressures put on our children by the outside world: soccer clinics, art classes, drama rehearsals, orchestra tryouts, baseball games, tennis workshops, and not to mention the vast array of homework assignments and studying. We cringe, but then seem to fall into the same trap. We are angered at the inordinate amounts of pressures our kids are faced with every day. But then we turn around and tell them they are not only the future of Jewish leadership, but of Judaism itself. We say that our synagogues, camps and community organizations should be safe spaces for them to just be, but then overload them with talk of how they need to rise to the occasion because Judaism needs their help.
We have to do better for our children.
We cannot expect them to stay healthy and endeavor to be leaders in our movements if we weigh them down with the same pressures they face outside the synagogue. We have to show them that Judaism cares about who they are, not simply who they can be for Judaism.
This year, I implore you to take an active role in your child’s Jewish education. Encourage discussion over the dinner table and in the car on the way to school. Email your son or daughter’s teacher and ask for ways to bring class activities home. Spend Shabbat with us and meet other parents and families. Instead of simply asking your child what he or she learned that day, ask how certain activities or topics made him or her feel. Read the family newsletter for information about what is happening at the synagogue and what Jewish events are taking place around Los Angeles, and check our Facebook page regularly for updates.
Ask questions! Ask me, ask the teachers, ask the clergy – we are all here to promote your child’s growth, and foster development as a young Jew. My door (or my email inbox and phone line) is always open for you, and I wish everyone a healthy and successful year.
Jessica Shamout, M.Ed., Director of Jewish Education
For information about religious school programs, contact:
Jessica Shamout, M.Ed.
Director of Jewish Education
(310) 472-1255, ext. 122