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Kevutzot (Groups) Descriptions

The Jewish Enrichment Center offers multiage groupings in all kevutzot (groups). With a broad range of ages, children learn from other children through role modeling, allowing younger children to be stimulated intellectually by older children and older children to develop self- reliance and responsibility. Multiage groupings also promote friendship between children of various ages, which strengthens the community as a whole. Multiage groupings make it possible for children see that each one of us brings strengths and a unique perspective to our community.

For Ages 0 – 3 and their grown-ups: Shalom Chaverim (“Welcome, Friends!”)

Description: Stories, singing, arts, playing, and more. Our youngest children explore Judaism through the textures, sounds, sights, smells, and rhythms of the Jewish year. Shalom Chaverim meets on Sundays only. Families may join in communal singing and prayer at 11:25 AM.

For Nursery 3 – Kindergarten Children: Shorashim (“Roots”) and Shteelim (“Saplings”)

Description: Shorashim and Shteelim children explore Judaism, Jewish texts, and Hebrew language through play, creative arts, music, construction, science, stories, games, and more. Children become familiar with different modes of expressing their ideas, develop facility with various artistic materials and techniques, and practice social awareness and relationship skills for collaborative, long-term projects. While children decide how they want to play with Hebrew, using magnets, games, blocks, stamps, or other materials, Shteelim also offers a more structured introduction to Hebrew language and writing for children who are ready. Shorashim and Shteelim children use the toilet with minimal assistance and attend class without their grown-ups.

For First and Second Grade Children: Nitzanim (“Buds”)

Description: Nitzanim children develop Jewish literacy through long-term, project-based exploration of Jewish ideas and Hebrew language. Nitzanim express themselves through art, drama, spoken word, and writing, and build listening, thinking, and questioning skills while learning to value multiple perspectives. Nitzanim also offers a more structured introduction to Hebrew language and writing for children who are ready.

For Third and Fourth Grade Children: Anafim (“Branches”) 

Description: Anafim children continue to acquire foundational Jewish literacy through long-term, project-based learning, with greater independence and choice in projects and materials. Anafim children explore personal connections with Judaism and Jewish community while focusing on skills for text interpretation and community dialogue. Hebrew language learning in Anafim supports deeper engagement with text and each other.  

For Sixth Grade Children: Alonim (“Oak Trees”)

Description: Alonim children continue to develop foundational Jewish literacy while grappling with a broader range of texts and historical information. Children experience more choice in their projects. Alonim children are familiar with chavrutah (partner text study), and use the process comfortably to explore their own relationship with Judaism. Alonim children decode Hebrew with ease, and children work on reading fluency and on grammatical principles for translation. A major focus of the Alonim Hebrew curriculum is Jewish prayer and the structure of Jewish prayer services.

For Sixth through Ninth Grade Children: Middle School

Description: In the Arazim (“Cedars”) program, we turn from the younger children’s theme exploration towards preteen and early teens’ questions of self-identity and community. For example, they ask: what if I don’t like what my friend is doing? can Jews get tattoos? be cremated? what’s the deal with kosher food? how do I navigate differences between explicit rules and implicit rules? Arazim (“Cedars”) kids explore these questions through Jewish text study, book and internet research, yetzirah (art/creativity), interviews, field trips, and more. Our long-term projects with Jewish texts at their core support preteen and early teens’ development of foundational Jewish literacy, while ensuring that they get to define their own relationship with Judaism. Like the younger children, Arazim (“Cedars”) kids share their work publicly, coinciding with Family Exploration and Celebration.

Optional Arazim (“Cedars”) Programs


Workshop offers Jewish Enrichment Center kids a chance to choose their own topics and projects. As skilled, close readers of Jewish text, and veteran project kids, they know how to consider multiple interpretations, develop their own understanding of a text, and show their ideas through a multi-stage project. Workshop is an excellent way to integrate children’s Jewish Enrichment Center learning with a kid’s B-Mitzvah text readings. Examples of projects include: visual exploration of a child’s B-Mitzvah portion; designing a community-wide celebration for a Jewish holiday; researching an archeological find from ancient Israel and leading a talk about the find in the community. Workshop is held on Wednesdays from 2 – 3 PM, and at other times by request.

Madrichim (“Leadership”)

The Arazim (“Cedars”) program includes an optional Madrichim (“Leadership”) track. The Madrichim program teaches preteens and early teens skills for leadership, for working with younger children, and responsible decision-making. Madrichim serve as assistants in younger children’s kevutzot (groups). A madrich or madricha might play Hebrew games with a younger child, interview a younger child about their artwork, set up a painting project, and much more. Madrichim also work as a team to plan and lead Enrichment Center holiday celebrations for children and families. Madrichim meet twice/quarter with the Rosh Madrichim (Head of Madrichim) to learn strategies and leadership principles for working with younger children. Madrichim sign up for a specific day by quarter.

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