Kingston Synagogue Cheder
February 2015: A Jewish education
by Gill Varon
A Jewish education can be fun!
If you are looking for a Cheder in the Kingston area where children will enjoy learning, make friends and emerge with a positive experience and pride in their Jewish heritage, then look no further.
Kingston Cheder is held every Sunday 9.30 am -12.30 pm during term time and is attended by students aged 3-16.
We currently have five classes and a Parent and Toddler Group which meets at Cheder several times a term. Our GCSE Class has been very successful with students gaining excellent grades. The two-year course includes Jewish Studies and Jewish Ethics. Children take the exam at the end of Year 10 allowing them an excellent humanities GCSE qualification before they take the rest of their GCSE examinations in year 11.
For a photo gallery of 2014-2015 Cheder activities (and other KSDS events and personalities), visit the Photo Gallery page. The cheder gallery is also available here.
Give your children a strong Jewish background
Throughout the Cheder children enjoy learning about all aspects of Jewish life from Festivals to Kashrut. The curriculum includes Hebrew reading and beginner’s Ivrit. Cheder children learn many songs for the festivals and also Israeli folk songs. We also teach the geography and history of Israel so the children become familiar with the names of the main towns and cities in Israel and have an understanding of the significance of a Jewish Homeland.
The Cheder choir is open to all who love singing and we rehearse in assembly or after break for about half an hour leading up to a concert or presentation. The children learn Israeli songs and more unusual songs for festivals and presentations such as a Yiddish Folk Song for Holocaust Memorial Day and a Ladino Chanukah Song.
They enjoy learning new songs and love showing off by singing them to their families and the community! The choir have performed at many community and Cheder events such as Purim, Chanukah, Prize Day and at Kingston Guildhall for the Holocaust Memorial Service.
One of the most important elements of sending your children to Cheder is to encourage a Jewish social life. Kingston Cheder is very friendly and children play and interact across the age groups. Many will make long lasting friendships that remain well after they leave Cheder. At break time the children have fun and socialise whilst enjoying the Tuck Shop – a great Cheder tradition!
Proud to be Jewish!
We try to show the children that they should be proud of their heritage and culture by making Jewish education fun and exciting! We have some fantastic teachers whose enthusiasm to give the children a Jewish education is paramount. Reading is done in class and also one on one with our student Reading Assistants and Parent Volunteers.
Each year we celebrate various events at the Cheder based on Jewish holidays which are excellent learning tools as the children enjoy themselves taking part in many activities that help them to learn about the history behind the festivals and all the traditions that go with them.
Our many varied Cheder activities include:
- A “Cheder Shabbat” is held once every term with the children taking part in the service on a chosen Shabbat day. We have found this is an excellent way to help the children to become confident and comfortable in Synagogue and understand the format of the service. They learn about different Parashat and present readings and sermons about the portion of the day. This is always a very positive experience and is loved by the children and the community.
- Festival events such as Chanukah latke making, Mock Seder, and a Purim Event, take place each year. The children have seen olive oil being pressed from olives and how shofarim are made. All these events enrich your child’s Jewish education with wonderful memories for life!
- Once a term we hold a Cheder breakfast or brunch for all age groups. Usually we hold these at Sukkot, Tu B’Shevat and Shavuot and celebrate with all the foods traditionally eaten on these festivals such as dairy products at Shavuot. On these special mornings the children all eat together with the Rabbi and teachers and there is always a festive atmosphere! After meals the kids bensh together with the Rabbi. This is a rather raucous affair and enjoyed by all!
- We have strong links to Jewish Youth groups such as JLGB who meet in our Synagogue offering weekly fun meetings and amazing Summer and Winter Camps, plus a superb post-GCSE Israel Tour.
- Shabbat with the Rabbi and Rebbitzen!! A Shabbaton is held at the Rabbi’s home, when class by class the children have the opportunity to enjoy a Friday night dinner or a meal on a Saturday after Shul. These events are great fun and a chance to engage in excellent conversations round the table. Rabbi Landau has also taken groups of teenagers to North London for Pizza or Chicken Shwarma!
- Going on organised Educational Trips with Cheder. This is a unique opportunity for Kingston Cheder children to join in trips to the Jewish Museum in London and further afield. A few years ago there was a Kingston Synagogue family group trip to Krakow and Auschwitz for children 12 years old and over which was both very successful and educational. In April 2012 another family group trip was taken to Amsterdam to visit Anne Frank’s Annexe and the Jewish Historic Museum, thus educating parents and children together in a supported and memorable way.
- Kingston Cheder Prize Giving. Each July the Cheder year ends with Prize Giving! This is a super day when each child is presented with a prize, usually a book, and the highlights of the Cheder year are celebrated. After the ceremony everyone enjoys an Israeli brunch together before going off for the summer holidays!
Gill Varon, Cheder Head Teacher: 020 8546 8271 or firstname.lastname@example.org