How did JQuest B’Yachad come about and why?
At JQuest B’Yachad we recognize that Jewish education is done best in a community that values friendships and relationships. Bringing students together who live in the same area or attend the same schools was key when lay leaders and the Rabbis on the Old York Road Corridor began discussing a collaborative religious school experience. Adath Jeshurun, Beth Sholom and Keneseth Israel wanted to create a new type of Jewish education that combined deep, significant learning with 21st century educational theories by integrating arts, project-based learning, and an individualized approach to Hebrew prayer study. From discussions, reflection, and road testing, JQuest B’Yachad was born in 2015. This collaborative education experience gives students a greater opportunity to develop long lasting friendships while experiencing the highest quality supplemental Jewish education our area has to offer.
How is JQuest B’Yachad different than traditional religious school?
JQuest B’Yachad begins with your child and your family. Understanding that students learn in diverse ways, parents have specific goals for Jewish education, and communities are diverse, JQuest B’Yachad puts the students in the driver’s seat and the teachers right by their side. In Judaic Studies teachers pose significant questions about who we are and what we do as Jews, then they help their students to dig deep to find the answers. Through project-based learning, kids use their own voice to articulate what they believe using a fun and creative method that engages them right from the start. Our teachers offer a wide range of choices to students who can learn through the arts, movement, or more traditional research projects.
In Hebrew and prayer, JQuest B’Yachad uses the latest research in language accuisition to esure that your child maximizes their time while learning to understand spoken Hebrew, feeling comfortable in the synagogue setting, practicing leading T’fillot from the bimah, and working in a small group to master Hebrew prayers. Small group learning maximizes engagement and comfort while regular prayer ensures a strong connection with clergy and a comfort that will prepare your child to become B’nai Mitzvah with ease.
How do students learn the various perspectives held by the respective movements?
Simply put, more unites us than divides us. Naturally, there are distinctions between our movements, and we share these in an age appropriate manner. On Sundays, T’fillot are led by movement to ensure students are comfortable with the prayers and tunes they will hear in their home synagogues. On Tuesdays the students pray together, blending the styles of all three synagogues. The goal is to educate our students for understanding in an open, pluralistic and egalitarian fashion.
Can my child be a part of JQuest B’Yachad?
JQuest B’Yachad welcomes all Jewish students to participate. Families with students in K-4th grade and who have not yet joined a synagogue welcome to send students to JQuest B’Yachad for an initial year than choose one of our congregations to join. Families with 5th and 6th graders are asked to join one of our congregations.
Will my child be comfortable at JQuest B’Yachad?
JQuest B’Yachad’s behavior code requires that all students treat each other with Respect (Kavod), Kindness (Hesed), and act in a way that promotes learning (Talmidim Tovim). All three synagogues are committed to ensuring that every child loves being Jewish and feels proud to be a student in JQuest B’Yachad. JQuest B’Yachad welcomes all families raising a Jewish child and seeks to create an environment where students of all races, family structures, gender preferences, and any type of special needs feel a part of the community. Teacher training focuses on establishing warm and safe classroom communities and working toward ensuring that all students feel valued as part of the group. JQuest B’Yachad’s individual, student-centered approach was designed with diverse learners in mind.
What about Kippot and Kashrut?
Students will be asked to follow the customs of their home synagogue and parental preference regarding wearing kippot at JQuest B’Yachad. When praying in the sanctuaries at Beth Sholom and Adath Jeshurun, all students will be asked to wear kippot. Any food served during JQuest B’Yachad will be provided by the school and will be kosher or dairy.
Will my child like JQuest B’Yachad?
JQuest B’Yachad seeks to maximize student engagement. Each day begins with our directors and clergy welcoming students into the program. Teachers seek to greet each child personally, learning more about how they can help us all on our quest to learn more about our Judaism. Using cooperative classroom models JQuest B’Yachad seeks to engage each child’s unique talents when creating projects and presentations. Hebrew, T’fillot, and holiday learning is all taught in a creative, engaging, hands-on, and kinesthetic manner to ensure kids have fun and get their creative juices flowing while learning all about being Jewish. That’s why we say JQuest B’Yachad is where kids bring Jewish learning to life!
What are the costs?
Tuition rates will be determined by each congregation. The cost of the program will be divided amongst the congregations. Families that have not yet joined a synagogue will pay $1000 for a one day a week program (grades K and 1) and $1800 for two days a week (grades 2-4).
Where and when will the classes be held?
For 2016-2017, students identifying with the Reform Movement will attend classes at Keneseth Israel on Sunday mornings from 9:15-12:00. Students identifying with the Conservative movement will attend classes at Adath Jeshurun in the fall and Beth Sholom Congregation in the spring from 9:15-12:15. On Tuesdays all students in grades 2-6 will attend our Tuesday afternoon program at Keneseth Israel from 4:30-6:00.
Who directs JQuest B’Yachad?
What is the governance of JQuest B’Yachad?
JQuest B'Yachad has a leadership committee made up of the three synagogue presidents, lay leaders, rabbis and education directors. In addition, a JQuest B’Yachad educational committee is made up of parents and educators from each community. Rabbi Rigler regularly meets with the Rabbis, Cantors, and synagogue leaders of all three institutions to ensure smooth communication between JQuest B’Yachad, the synagogues, and integration into the B’nai Mitzvah programs.
How are the clergy involved?
Clergy from all three congregations will be a regular part of JQuest B’Yachad by greeting families, leading T’fillot, and helping advise the curriculum. They serve as resources to the educational directors, teachers and students.
How are the teachers chosen?
The JQuest B’Yachad staff over the past two years primarily came from the religious schools of Adath Jeshurun, Beth Sholom and Keneseth Israel. Each year we seek to add to add to our team new staff who bring a love of Judaism and a desire to help kids bring Jewish learning to life. Our staff are experienced Jewish educators who receive mothly professional development and ongoing support.
Is there a role for families?
Families are encouraged to become involved in their children’s educational process. To help facilitate family engagement, we will regularly invite families to attend JQuest B’Yachad and give formal feedback both to the JQuest B’Yachad committee, as well as your individual congregation’s education committee. JQuest B’Yachad will host family educational days and invite parents to view student presentations.
What about Bar and Bat Mitzvah programs and classes?
Youth will continue to study with their respective clergy and educators in their home synagogue. JQuest B'Yachad teaches a specific Hebrew prayer curriculum given by their home congregation. Clear and regular communication will be provided to the parents about student progress in these areas.
What about youth and family programming and family worship?
Youth group, family services, grade level services and sleepovers, and other family activities be organized by movement with an eye toward collaboration.
How is JQuest B’Yachad evaluated?
JQuest B’Yachad conducts both formal and informal evaluations for students, parents, and leadership as well as inviting outside educators to observe and give feedback.