Jewish Learning Together (JoLT)

What is JoLT?

JoLT: Jewish Learning Together is a cutting-edge Jewish learning program, the kind that has children and families clamoring for more. Like learning a sport, our children will not merely study the rules of the game, but rather will learn by doing. They will not be just spectators but rather participants, with a focus on what children are able to think, feel and do Jewishly. While we may occasionally use terms such as “school” and “classes” in relation to JoLT, we intend for the experience to be much more informal and experiential than traditional synagogue religious school educational programs.

Who Should Attend JoLT?

Participation in this experiential Shabbat learning program is encouraged for all Agudas children in grades K-6 (public/private & secular/parochial school students), providing the opportunity for our youth to create close and cohesive relationships irrespective of their weekday educational environments.

The manner in which students are divided by age will depend upon final enrollment. However minimally we will have one room for children K – 2nd grade and another for 3rd – 6th grade.

When will JoLT Meet?

JoLT sessions will take place on Saturdays from August 25 through June 8. JoLT Calendar 2018-2019

Children in 3rd grade and above who do not attend Jewish day School should arrive at 9:15 am for 35 minutes of Hebrew reading reinforcement. The JoLT Program for all children will run from 10:00 am through the conclusion of services (approximately 11:30 am).

There will be up to (4) school-wide field trips/special activities (that are not Shabbat-compatible) taking place on Sunday mornings. These group activities will enhance community while fostering social action (tikkun olam), Judaic enrichment, and Jewish social interaction. JoLT will not take place on Shabbat mornings the day prior to these special Sunday programs (unless specifically marked on the calendar).

There will also be (5) Friday night dinner programs during the year. These will be opportunities for experiential programming with families, as well as times for the students to demonstrate skills that have been learned.

What about Attendance and Extracurricular Activities?

Our policy will be to welcome our students and families whenever they are able to join us. We understand some families may have other commitments at various times during the year on Shabbat.

What is the Curriculum?

The curriculum will focus on shul literacy, holidays, Shabbat tefillah skills, parshat hashavua, Israel, and Jewish values. The JoLT curriculum will complement rather than repeat what is covered at the Day Schools, and will replace the old “Sunday School” model.

Do Parents & Children Need to Dress-Up for JoLT on Shabbat?

No, it’s all good. We want people to feel comfortable and we want the Shul to feel as if it were an extension of your home. Because it is.

What about observing the laws of Shabbat?

While there are some challenges in teaching and implementing lessons and activities that do not violate Shabbat, we also believe that a Shabbat-centered model will foster more creativity and will by necessity be more active and engaging. There are a vast amount of curricular ideas and materials out there to create a vibrant, engaging, and dynamic learning experience for children.

What will parents do during JoLT sessions on Shabbat?

While parents are most certainly welcome to stay in the synagogue and participate in Shabbat services, it is neither a requirement nor an expectation. Indeed, parents are welcome to relax in the building, enjoy some morning snacks and shmooze with friends. At times, parents will be invited and urged to participate in special programming taking place on Shabbat with their children.

How will JoLT Connect with Adult Synagogue Services?

All the children involved with JoLT will come into the main service each week for Ein Keloheinu, Aleinu and Adon Olam. Additionally, synagogue skill building will be a crucial component of JoLT and the children will join the adult service at the appropriate times both to observe, as well as to publicly demonstrate mastery of the newly learned skills.

Will My Child Get to Eat?

Of course! Food is a hallmark of the Agudas Achim experience. In addition to snack time in the morning, children and parents are strongly encouraged to join us for Kiddush lunch following the JoLT session on Shabbat. Whether the parent drops off their child for JoLT or remains in the building for the morning, we hope families will stay for a nosh with the community. That being said, please make sure your child/ren eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day!

What if There is an Emergency on Shabbat?

One Agudas Achim staff member always carries a cell phone in the event of an emergency, even on Shabbat. If you or your child had an emergency situation, we would use the telephone as needed.

Cost and Registration

JoLT is a key ingredient as Agudas Achim increases and focuses the shul’s efforts to meet the needs of our growing population of young families. In that light, there is NO COST for children who are members of Agudas Achim to attend the JoLT program. If you are not a member, but interested in sending your child/ren to JoLT, please contact Naomi at 614-237-2747 x17 or nkurland@agudasachim.org.

What about Weekday Hebrew School?

We are maintaining the Hebrew School collaborative with Temple Israel for children 3rd grade and above who are not enrolled in a Jewish Day School. The focus of the Tuesday classes will continue to be Hebrew language instruction. Parents interested in registering for Tuesday classes should contact Naomi Kurland for cost and other details at nkurland@agudasachim.org  (nkurland@agudasachim.org)   or 614-237-2747 x17.

What if it is Impossible for My Child to Attend JoLT on Saturday Mornings?

Please contact Rabbi Levine at the Agudas office to discuss Jewish educational options for your child.