“As a kid, I dreaded Hebrew school,” says Amanda Berman, a parent from Sherman Oaks, California. “I used to pretend I was sick week after week to get out of it.” Rachel remembers long hours sitting at her desk and memorizing Jewish facts. “None of it had any connection to my life,” she says.
That’s nothing like the Chabad Hebrew Schools of 2019. “When I dropped my kids off on their first day,” Rachel says, “I promised myself that if they didn’t like it, I would never force them to go back.” Not only were her kids thrilled about going, they couldn’t stop talking about the projects, games, and activities.
Since when did Hebrew school become so compelling? CKids, education headquarters for shluchim around the world, plays a big role in the renaissance.
“The real innovation of the CKids educational model is that nothing is ever boring,” says Mrs. Rivka Galerin, a Hebrew School director in Windsor, Canada. Her students are motivated to come back each week because “there’s always something new and exciting.” Replacing overused, stale media like worksheets and textbooks, the CKids model of education is full of cutting-edge activities trending in the education world.
“The mission of CKids is to transform Jewish education,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “We are building the community leaders of tomorrow.”
The latest Ckids curriculum, launching in Hebrew Schools across the globe, is “Bereishit: Story of My Life.” It uses the powerful stories of the Avos and Imahos to impart values central to Yidishkeit. And it’s full of fresh ideas. Magic tricks teach kids about Yosef while cupcake brides reinforce the story of Rochel and Leah.
The 12-unit curriculum includes 9 different take-home projects that invite discussion around the dinner table. “Getting the whole family involved in the learning makes the lessons completely immersive,” says Mrs. Mushky Loewenthal, CKids curriculum director and mastermind behind the new curriculum.
At the end of all the unit, children go home with a capstone project—an illustrated chapter book about the Avos and Imahos complete with a customized cover. A song, built upon and practiced each week, weaves together lessons from each week into a memorable and catchy memento.
“We want children to discover the extraordinary traits that define us as Jews,” says Loewenthal. “They’ll start to realize that Jewish history is our story.”
CKids is a project of Merkos Suite 302.