Torah, Prayer & Ritual

Our study program for children aged 9-12 years is personalized and self-directed, leading to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony at Shir Hadash as your child moves into Jewish adulthood. Because we believe that the best Jewish education is one in which parents and kids learn together we have created a program for children and their parents that uses books that can be used and discussed by both, and can be used equally well by parents with very little Jewish education or those with substantial knowledge.

Self-Paced Curriculum

Parents and children discuss Jewish history, ethics, Torah, Talmud, by reading 20-25 pages per week and then studying together for 90 minutes per week (we favor discussion over Sunday breakfast!). The curriculum is entirely self-paced.

  • Age 9/10 Parents and children learn about the Torah together by reading an English translation weekly (or for 10-15 minutes nightly at bedtime) using The Torah: A Modern Commentary (or other annotated Torah of parents’ choosing).
  • Age 10/11  Parents and children learn about Jewish Holidays and the Jewish Calendar using Celebrate! and excerpts from The First Jewish Catalogue.
  • Age 11/12 – Parents and children read The Synagogue Survival Kit (20-25 pages per week) and attend services at other Jewish denominations (reform, conservative, orthodox) to learn about varying customs and practices. (This often happens in conjunction with a child’s attendance at friends’ bar/bat mitzvah services).

Learning Support

Children attend Shir Hadash services. They receive tutoring in Hebrew, Torah, siddur and Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation from a Shir Hadash tutor:

  • Ages 9-11: Hebrew instruction & siddur.
  • Age 12: Siddur, Torah portion, trope.

Children meet with the Shir Hadash rabbi periodically the year before Bar/Bat Mitzvah to discuss Jewish, Torah & Bar/Bat Mitzvah topics.

Children are also very strongly encouraged to attend Jewish summer camp, where they will be immersed in Judaism and Jewish study.

Parents meet periodically with the Shir Hadash rabbi and parenting coach to ask questions and discuss parenting and Jewish content issues, exchange successes and ideas, and get support for upcoming Torah parshiot, calendar and holiday discussions with their children.

Learn More

If you've never done a self-directed study program or have questions about how it works, give Dave Zuckerman or Lois Zuckerman (314-576-3011) a shout and we'll explain how it works and how you can get started.