This September, Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope is launching an alternative Jewish education program called Y’ladim BaTeva. It will be targeted at elementary school-aged children and will include a significant outdoor component. The 10-month program will be open to all families seeking a Jewish education program for their children, and will comprise weekend outdoor classes, weekday online classes, and family Shabbat and holiday programs. Children will learn Jewish values and selected prayers, study the Bible, sing songs, and learn basic Hebrew words and letters. An optional, more traditional Hebrew decoding and prayer program will also be available.
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen has been a dedicated educator of Jewish studies for almost 25 years. She is the founder Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope, where she leads outdoor Shabbat and High Holiday services for individuals and families throughout Metrowest’s conservation areas and outdoor reservations, hosts interfaith holiday celebrations, and runs a summer nature program for children in grades 2-5 through another organization she founded, One Earth Collaborative. Rabbi Allen has found that connecting the natural world with prayer and Jewish teachings can be both calming and quite powerful. It has long been her dream to establish a formal Jewish education program for children that incorporates her love of nature.
Rabbi Katy enjoys working with children and believes that imparting Jewish values into their lives can be accomplished in an informal setting. She shares, “In the outdoors, children can be nurtured and awakened by the natural world at the same time that they are experiencing and internalizing Jewish values and concepts.” She adds, “The Jewish texts and prayers enrich their experience of nature and their experience of nature gives their understanding of Jewish tradition a new twist.”
Rabbi Katy looks to impart an appreciation of nature with Jewish values and concepts into her students, while simultaneously creating a strong but informal community for the families and students who participate. She believes that she can achieve this through the outdoor classes, online instruction and family Shabbat programs. She adds, “The outdoor component is a big key to our success. It provides opportunities for exploring and experiencing a sense of wonder and spirituality for both the children and their families that is simply not possible sitting indoors.”
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