Congregational/Religious School Education
Over the past 70 years, most Jewish children in the United States have received their Jewish education through synagogue/congregational schools, formerly referred to as Hebrew Schools, Sunday Schools or Religious Schools. Even in Miami-Dade County, where a majority of Jewish children attend Jewish day schools – particularly in the northern part of the county -- our community’s synagogues/congregational schools are numerous and diverse and providing families with an accessible Jewish education for their children.
They offer children, and often their families, an opportunity to explore Jewish wisdom, tradition, Hebrew, and prayer. They foster connections to our local community and to Israel. At the same time, they provide multiple opportunities for giving tzedakah and doing acts of tikkun olam.
CAJE’s Department of Congregational/Religious Education’s mission is to inspire and build congregational educators’ capacities to become visionaries and leaders in innovative Jewish learning for children, teens and families through:
- Networking: The Congregational Educators Professional Network (CEPN), comprised of Miami’s congregational education directors, meets regularly to share ideas, concerns and vision in a collegial, supportive atmosphere.
- Innovation: CAJE leadership is always researching new resources, concepts, research and theories that inspire excellence in congregational/religious education. These innovations are shared with congregational education directors through various formats, especially professional development.
- Professional Development: Even the most creative and innovative educators need to be lifelong learners themselves in order to impact their children’s, teens’, families’ and faculties’ experiences. Sharsheret (the Hebrew word for chain) is the professional development program CAJE coordinates and offers to congregational education directors.
CAJE’s Sharsheret Program leverages community funding to bring the brightest and the best thought leaders to our Miami congregation education directors. Whether it’s learning the foundational theory and methodologies of experiential Jewish education or exploring nuanced Israel education, just to give a few examples, our congregational education directors are engaged in high level, sustained learning that they are implementing in their programs in a myriad of ways.
Our community also values congregational education teachers’ ongoing professional learning. CAJE partners with Gratz College’s NEXT program, which offers specialized courses pertinent to today’s congregational education programs. CAJE subsidizes the tuition fees to give the gift of ongoing professional development to all our congregational education teachers.
- Consultation: One size does not fit all and each congregational education program is unique. CAJE offers consultation and coaching to directors, congregational lay leadership, and various stakeholders in areas of systemic change, curriculum design, educational leadership and more.
To view a comprehensive list of all the Congregational/Religious School Education programs, click here.
For more information on Congregational Education in Miami Dade County, please contact Yehudis Smith 305-576-4030 ext. 113.