Kesher Newton, a Jewish after-school program based in Newton Centre, has welcomed its largest student body this fall. Established as one of the nation’s most vibrant Jewish educational communities, the program serves more than 100 children and their families.
“We have grown into a program for children of all ages,” said Dan Brosgol, executive director of Kesher Newton. “The key is that kids love learning at Kesher. It feels more like a Jewish summer camp than like a traditional school, but the learning is actually very intense.”
Kesher’s model has proven to be a winning formula for success in Newton, and one that has earned national acclaim for its innovation and vibrant educational curriculum. As other Jewish supplementary schools and day schools struggle with declining enrollment, Kesher continues to add students and grades, and keep a committed core of students and families coming back year after year.
Since 2003, when Kesher Newton was founded, the program has successfully challenged the traditional Hebrew School model. Upon entering the sturdy doors of Kesher, visitors immediately feel the summer camp-like spirit. Kindergarteners sing and bake their way through the holidays while older kids participate in a mock court trial of Cain, accused of murdering Abel. Second and third graders listen to a cello piece written for the High Holidays, and teenage girls study with friends well into the evening. The learning is multi-sensory and kinetic–appealing to kids’ hearts while challenging their minds.
Word of the Kesher experience has spread like wildfire, drawing families from Newton, Needham, Lexington, Brighton, Watertown, Natick and Jamaica Plain. Families drawn to the program come from every type of Jewish background. In addition to finding an inclusive Jewish home at Kesher, they have also found the flexibility that fits their lifestyle including: a convenient and meaningful after-school child care option, a program which leaves weekends free for family time, a strong modern Hebrew program, and a more affordable alternative to day schools.
Kesher is located at 11 Homer St., Newton Centre. For more information, call (617)244-5390 or visit www.keshernewton.org.