Education at Shir Tikvah

Rabbi Melissa Simon describes the essence of Jewish education.

Show Transcription

“Ultimately, the greatest gift we can give to our young people is teaching them the story of Hillel who has someone come to him and ask him to teach all of Judiasm while standing on one foot. And what [Hillel said] was 'what is hateful to you, do not do to another, the rest is commentary.' And I think that at the end of the day that's what were trying to teach our young people and our adults. Don't do what is hateful to you, just treat other people with kindness."

According to Director of Lifelong Learning Melissa Simon, “synagogues are all about the education, and the work of rabbis is the work of education.” At Shir Tikvah this education can be seen in many different ways including religious and Hebrew school, adult education programs and Torah study, retreats, and other experiences, but the one that is most present is the religious that starts in pre-k and continues until 10th grade with confirmation and in the Hebrew school that students attend from third to seventh grade. 1

Shir Tikvah is not just educating the kids in Jewish knowledge, but is infusing values and Jewish life in ways that the kids all come out as menschs. —Jen Lewin

  1. Melissa Simon, interview by author, 10 25, 2013

Ray Levi discusses why Shir Tikvah is a safe space for discussing Judaism and differences in the community.

Show Transcription

 “I do think that one of the things that a kid feels is that voices are heard. I think that [at] Shir Tikvah there is a strong community that's built among the kids and it's a very safe place. It's a safe place for asking all kinds of questions about Judaism and about your relationship with God and not being told this is what you have to think. I also think it's a very safe place to honor diversity. 'I'm a Jewish kid of color...' 'I've been adopted by...' It doesn't matter. There will be other people like me. There will be other people who have gay parents, trans parents. And we can talk about it. We'll see role models here. We won't feel alone. I think it's a place where [not only] are kids voices heard but they are respected for what they bring.”