Sunday School: Atidaynu
Atidaynu, “Our Future”, is Har Shalom’s religious school for children from ages 3 – 13 years. Parents and other volunteers lead the program. We provide a variety of learning, crafts, and recreational opportunities for our children, including an opening t’filah (prayer) gathering in which we sing songs and chant prayers. Parents join us for this, too.
Depending on the activity, children are divided into groups based on age and Hebrew ability. Younger kids spend time with stories, arts and crafts, and games, learning in a variety of ways— through studying Bible stories, the Hebrew alphabet, and customs. As they grow older, they learn more about acting on Jewish values in the home and in the community. During the two to four years preceding bar or bat mitzvah age, students are exposed to Jewish history, ritual, and customs, and learn to read Hebrew and lead prayers.
Our draft B’nei Mitzvah handbook is currently under review and serves as a guide for working with our bnei mitzvah students. The training of children for their bar or bat mitzvah is under the direction of our Spiritual Leader and Student Rabbi, Laurie Franklin. We are proud of the young people who have come through Atidaynu, and are confident that together we continue to strengthen the moral character and ritual knowledge of the next generation of Jews living in Western Montana.
B’nei Mitzvah Education
We recommend beginning preparationfor b’nei mitzvah at least one year, and preferably two, before the anticipated date of the bar or bat mitzvah. Each student works with a tutor to build reading, chanting and prayer skills and meets monthly with Spiritual Leader and Rabbinic Intern Laurie Franklin to discuss ideas and meanings in Torah, Haftarah, and words of prayer. Engaging a tutor is the responsibility of the bar or bat mitzvah’s family. Laurie will communicates regularly with tutors and family about each student’s progress. We expect that students are enrolled in Atidaynu and attend services regularly. Each student engages in a community service project as part of b’nei mitzvah education. Har Shalom’s draft b’nei mitzvah guide will soon be available here.