Kesher is Hebrew for "connection," and connection is at the center of everything we do. Kesher is Ahavath Achim Synagogue's religious school program for kids four years old through 6th grade. We nurture compassionate and curious Jewish learners who draw connections between themselves and their Jewish values and rituals, to each other, to their community, and to their environment. Through hands-on experiences, students learn to question, problem-solve, and build a more just world.
We believe in an emergent curriculum where children's interests and background help to guide our lessons. It is our job as teachers to listen and give structure to these ideas. We believe in nurturing the whole child and viewing our relationships and interactions with others and our environment through the lens of Jewish values, such as: G'milut Chasadim (Lovingkindness), Bitachon (Safety/Trust), Tikkun (Repair), Areivut (Responsibility), Kavannah (Intention), Ma'aseh (Action), Tzedek (Justice), Avodah (Service), Sh'mirah (Preservation), and Kavod (Human Dignity/Respect). We create confident and curious Jewish learners in a safe space where they can take risks, question, play, learn, explore, engage, create, make meaning, and love. We foster the child's sense of Jewish self-discovery by providing a nurturing environment where each person is able to explore and create their own identity.
Kesher students meet in person from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Sunday mornings. Students in 2nd–6th grade also meet remotely each week for small-group, focused Hebrew tutoring. Families join for an enriched Shabbat experience each month.
What a typical Sunday morning looks like:
- 9:30 a.m.: Drop-Off
- 9:30–9:43 a.m.: Havdallah
- 10:15–11:00 a.m.: Circle Time/Class Activity/Lesson
- 11:00–11:15 a.m.: Hafsuka Snack/Break
- 11:20–12:00 p.m..: Chug (Elective)
- 12:05–12:30 p.m.: Tefillah (Prayer)
- 12:30 p.m.: Dismissal
Loving kindness is the root of being able to understand others so that we may be able to give and receive through Chesed.
Our safety/trust is the foundation upon which we create community and allow children to try, sometimes failing, and grow.
Responsibility is knowing it is our duty in making our world a better place by taking pride and ownership in our decisions and our actions.
Repair is the ability to self-reflect and make different choices in the future to make the world a better place.
Intention is the way in which we approach the world, with great purpose and thought, and the ability to make meaning and find connections.
Understanding that each action we take affects more than just ourselves
Building a just world and helping us define our relationships
To engage in the act of service to better our community and our world
Preservation of our world and the resources with which we are blessed
Human dignity/respect of our community and world we live in by believing that all human-beings are created in the divine image, and so have equal worth
- Classes have 3–5 students
- Up to twenty-eight 45-minute online classes
- Flexibility and accessibility for families: Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.
AHC is included in tuition for students enrolled in Kesher for grades 2–6. Additional information, including choosing your schedule, will be shared closer to the start of the school year.
Nesiah, Hebrew for "journey," is Ahavath Achim Synagogue's on-the-move program for 7th through 9th-grade students. Nesiah runs on a triennial curriculum, each year exploring a defining era in Jewish history and culminating with a memorable trip. The curriculum is uniquely designed to the needs of day school students and public-school students alike. As students gain a greater understanding of our shared Jewish history, they also learn more about their own identities and their families' stories.
Nesiah students meet in person from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on the following Sundays: August 20, August 27, September 10, September 24, October 15, October 29, November 5, November 12, December 3, January 7, January 21, February 4, February 11, March 3, March 17, April 14, April 21, and May 5. From 11:30–12:30 p.m., participants will be teachers-in-training with Kesher.
The course for 2022–23, "How Did We Get Here?," explored Jewish immigration to America and Jewish life in the South. Experiences included field trips to Oakland Cemetery, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, The Breman Museum, and more. The year concluded with a memorable trip to New York City where students visited Ellis Island, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), the Tenement Museum, and saw a show on Broadway.
The course for 2023–24 is "How Do We Use Gelt?: Saving, Investing, and Giving," and it will explore Jewish values of tzedakah (philanthropy), tikkun olam (healing the world), and avodah (service) through a uniquely designed Giving Circle Program. The year will begin by delving into the history of Jews and money followed by sessions on how we can make change with our money today. Students will have the opportunity to raise their own money, hear from non-profits firsthand, and make decisions about how to invest money into their own community.
A Giving Circle is a group of individuals who come together, combine charitable donations from all members, and collectively make decisions about how to allocate their money. Students will design their own application and learn about seven Jewish philanthropic values that will guide their decision-making process towards which non-profits they will select through the application process. Experiences will include exposure to banks and a variety of non-profit organizations, with a service-learning trip in the spring.
Last year's 2022–23 course, "How Did We Get Here?," concluded with a memorable service learning trip to New York City where students visited Ellis Island, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), the Tenement Museum, and saw a show on Broadway.
This year's 2023–24 course will culminate in a service-learning trip (with input from the students) from June 4–7, 2024 with an organization that meets one of the philanthropic values. The destination is TBD, and dates are subject to change.
Interim Director of Education
Kesher Assistant Coordinator/Floater Teacher
Kesher Music Teacher
Kesher Pre-K–K Teacher
Kesher Pre-K–K Madricha
Kesher 1st–2nd Grade Teacher
Kesher 1st–2nd Grade Madricha
Kesher 3rd–4th Grade Teacher
Kesher 3rd–4th Grade Madricha
Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal
Kesher 3rd–5th Grade Co-Teacher
Rabbi Sam Blustin
Kesher 5th–6th Grade Co-Teacher
Kesher 5th–6th Grade Madricha
Nesiah 7th–9th Grade Co-Leader
Nesiah 7th–9th Grade Co-Leader
Nesiah Floater Madricha
Nesiah Floater Madricha
3 Yrs–6th Grade