Hebrew Buddies of the Week

Shalom Temple families,

Do you know what a Hebrew buddy is? Maybe you would like one? 

Every Tuesday, all of our students participate in a prayer service run on alternate weeks by our own 6th graders and our clergy. Our goal is to create "leaders of meaningful Jewish worship" and participating in and leading a weekly prayer service is one of the key ways we do this. The service is always lively, filled with creative and inspiring new techniques to engage our students. 

All of our younger students are paired with older students and sit in dyads as "Hebrew buddies" - the younger student's job is to pay attention, and follow along, doing their best to read/sing our prayers - even though our youngest students (3rd grade) are just learning the aleph-bet this year. The job of our older students is to act as a role model/mentor - using their finger to follow along with the prayers, so our younger ones can have an experience of seeing the Hebrew words and hearing the sounds - understanding that this will help them put it all together as they develop their Hebrew skills. 

Last year one of our students, Hannah Spieler (a current 6th grader) suggested we create a "Hebrew Buddies of the Week" program and honor a pair each week for their outstanding work! We took her up on this great idea and at the end of every prayer service, I pick one pair to be honored. (Sometimes the job of selection is given to one of our Madrichim/Teen helpers)

Since starting this program, we have seen a real uplift in focus and enthusiasm during prayers. Mentors and mentees alike are motivated to "win" and are honored when they do. We recently started posting a photo of the honored pair in the lobby! (See this photo from the Jan. 29 service - Zoe Wallis, left, and Emerson Carton.)

Parents and Congregants are all welcome to join us on Fridays at 4:15 for our prayer service (Tefila).

It's wonderful to see how this student-generated idea has brought a new level of vigor to our services! We welcome student input of all kinds! If your child has an idea, please encourage them to share it with me and/or our clergy! 


Jennifer Levine
Director of Education