New Voices, New Choices

Organization: Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn, NY

Grant Year: 2013

Project Director: Yehudit Feinstein

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $125,000.00 (2 years)

Website: https://congregationbethelohim.org/

To expand the capacity, enrollment, and community engagement of Keshet, Congregation Beth Elohim’s Hebrew language immersion/Israeli culture based afterschool program, and create an adaptable model for its participants, as well as for those within the broader Jewish community.

Keshet is for children ages 0-4 and their parents and meets every other Sunday morning. Students and families explore aspects of Israeli identity, Jewish values, and holidays, all with a unique Israeli spin.

This grant intended to develop a Hebrew School and Bar/Bat Mitzvah program based on an emergent curriculum expanded and enhanced through this project and planned to include coursework, activities and a Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience individualized to address the specific interests of participating students and their families. The program intended to maintain its authentic Israeli-centered approach and, at the same time, create structure, processes and content that was conducive to American-born participants, bridging opportunities between these two groups. In conjunction with development of its expanded emergent curriculum and after-school program, “New Voices, New Choices” ambitious goals included the creation of educational seminars that would accept input from other partnering Jewish educational institutions in order to formulate an emergent curriculum that accurately addresses a broad spectrum of community interests.

“New Voices, New Choices” also planned to create a series of authentic “Israeli-style” celebrations of Israeli and Jewish holidays for those seeking a vibrant, rich connection to Judaism, emphasizing Israeli culture and the Hebrew language.