MAGAL fosters love of Jewish learning and culture
January 18, 2019
Now in its third exciting year, the Meitin Alliance for Growth And Learning was created by Temple Shir Shalom (Reform) and Temple Israel (Conservative) to bring together Jewish students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds in order to have their diversity enrich their learning. Both congregations have always been committed to a robust and solid curriculum of Jewish knowledge, but working together brings the benefit of greater diversity of ideas. MAGAL, which means circle in Hebrew, believes very strongly that we share much in common with each other even while we retain our unique identities as individuals and congregations.
Although each congregation has its unique character, they are one in their commitment to provide a strong Jewish education and identity to their children. Parent Aaron Leviten has a daughter in the K-2 class and says, "The involvement in MAGAL has given my daughter a broader insight into being Jewish. We are happy to see that different parts of a broader Jewish family come together with Shir Shalom and Temple Israel and benefit from mutual sharing of ideas, thoughts, and experiences."
Classes are held at Temple Israel on Wednesdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for third through seventh grade and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for kindergarten through seventh grade. Monica Garcia has a son in the K-2 class and a daughter in the 3-5 class. She says, "They have loved every second of it, always waking up in the morning asking if it was time for Hebrew school...They love all of their teachers and friends at MAGAL. They are more confident and in tune with being Jewish now than I ever was as a child and for that I am forever grateful to our family at Temple Israel and MAGAL teachers."
The core elements and skills of our faith come naturally to our Hebrew school students, thanks to our integrated curriculum that emphasizes mastery and understanding over rote memorization. These elements give our kids ownership of their identity and help them feel comfortable discussing the world around them with a Jewish outlook. It also means they learn how to transmit all that is wonderful in our heritage to the world beyond the doors of the synagogue, whether it be part of a school project or as individuals. Yaela Marks, who has a daughter in second grade, has "enjoyed seeing her knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew develop. The teachers are very knowledgeable and enjoy being a very integral part of the students' Judaic education. She is now teaching her non-Jewish friends Hebrew!"
Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat family services throughout the year reinforce Hebrew school learning. Students regularly take part in services so they'll feel at home in any synagogue in the world. MAGAL also regularly incorporates theater, music, and cooking into the school day, giving students the opportunity to bring all their senses into their learning and interact in different ways with their Judaism. Special family events, such as making Havdallah candles and spice boxes, cooking traditional holiday foods, or participating in a MAGAL Mitzvah Day, bring both children and adults together for even more meaningful Jewish experiences.
For more information about MAGAL, please contact Rabbi Joshua Neely (Temple Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cantor Kim Singer (Temple Shir Shalom, email@example.com).