Rishonim (K-4th Grade)
Rishonim, which meets once a week after school (Tuesdays from 4-6 pm) at Grace Church School, 86 4th Avenue at 11th St, is one of the most exciting religious schools in New York City. Our children enjoy it, attendance is at 98 percent, parents are involved, and teachers are committed to the community. One of the reasons for our success is that we don’t treat education as something supplemental to the spiritual life of our community, but as an integral part of it. In keeping with our philosophy that Jewish skills are learned through active participation, our children are an integral part of all holiday events, are engaged in services, and are part of constant dialogue with the Rabbi and their parents.
Rishonim is not just a context for learning Jewish history, traditions, prayers, and culture, but for celebrating Jewish life. We want our students to feel good about being Jewish, and we’re committed to developing innovative curricula and programming, including special events, and field trips. The curriculum is centered on four pillars. We study the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), the lessons and text of the Tanakh (Bible), the history and future of the Jewish people, and ancient and modern Hebrew language. Each one of these themes is taught through various means including the arts, hands-on projects, and discussions.
We also have a wonderful Brooklyn program which meets every other Sunday morning, hosted at members’ homes. It’s a warm, intimate learning environment, incorporating the curriculum for BKS and Rishonim in two separate classes.
Our school builds on the traditions of the past, the strengths of the present, and the excitement of the future. This year we hope to continue fostering a community of learners by creating a welcoming environment for parents but also foster that involvement and learning for the whole family. We hope to continue building a learning environment where children and parents voices can be heard — where they share responsibility with teachers for finding better ways to facilitate learning.
Big Kids Spirituality (BKS) (5th-8th Grade)
Our individualized Bar/Bat Mitzvah program encourages our children to see this rite of passage as a beginning, rather than an end, to their lives as members of our community. Not every Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony at The New Shul is identical, and not every experience preparing for it is the same. Our goal is that all will be rewarding, all will be causes for great and joyous celebration, and all will be, not climactic conclusions, but catalysts for an even more exciting and vibrant Jewish life to come.
Classes meet weekly on Mondays from 4-6 pm at Grace Church School, 86 4th Avenue at 11th St. Throughout the year, participants also have the opportunity to attend youth group events that focus on social action and community-building. Every week we enjoy Mini Mitzvah with Rabbis Zach and Misha, who engage our kids and families through wisdom, music and conversation.
Examples of Parent Prayer
Rabbi Zach’s Resources