Family Education

DOWNLOAD 2015-16 Family Education Schedule here:

What does Family Education mean for our family?

Family Education is an integral part of our school program and community life at Kerem Shalom.  We offer experiential educational educational programs for parents and their children at every grade level as well as community-wide programs for families of any description (single or married adults without children, families with children of any age), to help strengthen our families and the tie between families and the synagogue, and provide support for fostering joyful Jewish life at home.

The family experience is at the heart of what we do together. Through conversation and play, study, re-enactment, art, music, and the work of Tikkun Olam, repairing our world, our families experience the gift of sacred family time in a Jewish context. Family Ed programming at Kerem Shalom enables parents new to Judaism to learn and be challenged without being intimidated, and to comfortably partner in their children’s learning.

Parents and children learn together about our Jewish culture and heritage—text, holidays, history, rituals and prayers—and the ever-evolving practices and interpretations of Judaism’s core principles and beliefs. Through parallel adult programming and group offerings JUST for parents, parents have an opportunity for deeper, more enriched learning and support, which will empower them to take a lead in teaching Judaism and modeling Jewish values for their children at home.

We look forward to having you and your family join us in Jewish learning and celebration!

Questions? Contact Nancy Kaplan, familyedatkeremshalomdotorg, 978-369-1223.

Intergenerational GRADE LEVEL PROGRAMS
Early Childhood through High School

For Families with Young Children:
Tot Shabbat services are geared for families with children up to age 7, but older siblings up to mid-elementary school age often attend.

Friday evenings At 5:45 PM, followed by Dinner*
Come in your PJ’s & slippers, bring your toothbrush.Cuddly animals & blankeys welcome.

Families with young children are warmly invited to join Family Educator Nancy Kaplan at Kerem Shalom for our monthly PJ Tot Shabbat services and dinner!  Services last about a half hour. We celebrate Shabbat together with music, movement and midrash (stories about Torah and other writings).  Our services are joyful, spiritual and meaningful for adults and children alike.

After our service and blessings over the candles, grape juice and challah,   families are invited to stay and enjoy visiting over dinner* and dessert (oneg Shabbat) featuring holiday-related foods. We’ll have holiday-themed crafts & games to keep small hands busy.

PJ Tot Shabbats & Holiday Celebrations 2015- 16 / 5776

Sept 14 (Mon) & 23 (Wed), 8:45 am—Early Childhood family Services for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur.
All are welcome regardless of membership or ability to donate for RH/YK tickets.

Friday Tot Shabbats & Dinners– RSVP FOR DINNER
Oct 2—Sukkot (in the sukkah! weather permitting)
Nov 6— Jewish Social Action /Mitzvah Month - (Cheshvan)
Dec  4—Get ready for Chanukah
Jan 22 — Tu BiShvat – New Year for Trees
Feb 26—  World Hunger Shabbat
Mar 18—  Jewish! Women’s History Month
Apr 3 SUNDAY 10:30am PURIM — Sing-along,  Purimspiel (play), Parade & Carnival  - hosted by KS students
Apr 15— Get ready for Passover
May 20— Celebrate Israel
June 10— Shavuot


Sunday, December 7, 10-noon
A workshop to familiarize families with the Parent Connection Reading Program, and encourage families to create a home environment in which Jewish literature, topics and ideas become part of everyday life.

GRADE 1 HEBREW NAME WORKSHOP - Sunday, February 1, 10AM-noon.
Parents will learn about Hebrew Names in the Torah, naming customs, and the importance of Jewish education as a piece of building Jewish identity.  Parents will create name plaques based on research of meanings and child’s namesakes.

GRADES 1 & 2 SHABBAT DINNER – Friday, March 13, 6 PM

GRADE 2 HANUKKAH WORKSHOP - Sunday, November 2, 10AM-noon.
Families will learn the basic Hanukkah story, rituals and practices at interactive learning stations.  Parents will discover alternative celebrations to enrich their current celebration, and understand the value of ritual in a child’s and a family’s life.

GRADE 3 SCAVENGER HUNT in Jewish Brookline/ Harvard Street - Sunday, May 3,
9:45 AM - mid-afternoon (we will return to KS by 2:30PM). 
A tour of Jewish Boston, designed to foster an understanding of our wider Jewish world, familiarize families with Jewish landmarks in the greater Boston area, and foster a connection between our families and people in Israel.

GRADES 3 & 4 SHABBAT DINNER - Friday, November 14, 6 PM

GRADE 4 TORAH WORKSHOP - Sunday, January 25, 10AM-12:30 PM.
A morning of interactive learning activities for families, to complement the children’s study of Genesis.  Families will explore one parasha (Torah portion) and use acquired skills to study other parashiot in the Torah.

GRADE 5 PASSOVER WORKSHOP - Sunday, March 15, 10AM–12:30 PM.
Families will learn about Passover, develop family practices for the holiday, and glean ideas to enliven and enrich the Seder.  Interactive learning activities for families will reinforce the children’s study of Exodus. Families will create beautiful ritual objects for the Seder Table.

GRADES 5 & 6 SHABBAT DINNER - Friday, January 9, 6 PM
Family Education at Kerem Shalom is supported by a grant from the Combined Jewish Philanthropies

GRADE 6 BAR/BAT MITZVAH WORKSHOP #1: The Spiritual Meaning of B’nai Mitzvah - Sunday, November 16, 10 AM-Noon
This program will encourage a deeper understanding among families of this spiritual milestone for children and families, and generate interest and participation in year-long Mitzvah Projects for individual students and groups. Facilitated by Nancy Kaplan, Pat Lukens and Rabbi Darby Leigh.

GRADE 6 BAR/BAT MITZVAH WORKSHOP #2: Putting the Mitzvah into Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Sunday, February 8, 10AM–12:30 PM.
Parents and children will explore together the definitions of mitzvot and the importance of incorporating mitzvot into daily life. Through text study families will gain an understanding of the origins of mitzvot in the Torah and their application in today’s world.
Facilitated by Nancy Kaplan and Rabbi Darby Leigh

GRADE 6 BAR/BAT MITZVAH WORKSHOP #3 (for parents only) – with Rabbi Darby
An informal session to orient parents of b’nei mitzvah students about how Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, ritual and celebration fit into the context of Jewish life.  Facilitated by Rabbi Darby Leigh.

GRADE 7 TORAH POSTER WORKSHOP - Monday, September 15, 6:30-8:30 PM
7th graders and their parents will explore the students’ parashiot (Torah portions) from a visual learning and teaching perspective. Together they will create a poster depicting an interesting or important aspect of the student’s Torah portion. The posters will be hung around the lobby in the order of the Torah readings during the Simchat Torah service. The students will introduce the ideas on their posters to congregants during the Simchat Torah celebration.  Facilitated by Nancy Kaplan, Pat Lukens, Joan Perlman and 7th grade faculty.

GRADE 7 FAMILY SHABBAT DINNER October 17, 6 PM, including GRADE 7 STUDENTS’ Torah Poster Presentations
7:15 PM Simchat Torah celebration for the entire community- bring friends!

GRADES 8 & 9  GIRLS’ ROSH HODESH GROUP  Sundays, 4-6 pm. with Moving Traditions New England Regional Director Cheryl Weiner. COME FOR A TASTE OF ROSH HODESH on Sunday Sept 28 from 4-6.  RSVP and questions? Contact Cheryl Weiner, cweineratmovingtraditionsdotorg  (cweineratmovingtraditionsdotorg)  .

GRADES 9&10 and GRADE 12 GIRLS’ ROSH HODESH GROUPS facilitated by Nancy Kaplan
Sundays, monthly (Dates TBA – see the Grapevine and the web site)    A time for teenage girls to connect, deepen friendships and have fun while learning more about themselves and each other, and celebrate the rhythms in the cycle of the Jewish year in a sacred, safe space that they create together. Ingredients of monthly gatherings include service learning and talking seriously about listening to the voices that support self-esteem and encourage personal growth and leadership. Questions? contact Nancy.

GRADES 9 & 10 SHEVET ACHIM (Brothers Together) is a new boys' group forming at Kerem Shalom this fall. Shevet Achim is a monthly gathering for 9th and 10th grade boys to enjoy time with old friends, make new friends, and play ridiculous games that lead to meaningful conversations on the question  “What does it mean to be a Jewish man today?” Questions?       e-mail  matthewarloweatgmaildotcom  (matthewarloweatgmaildotcom)  

Followed by Shabbat service 7:30 PM – Chagigat Torah and Geisinger Scholarship Awards will be received by high school students during the service

COMMUNITY-WIDE Family programs in chronological order
For Adults and Families with children of all ages

Friday, October 10, 6:30 PM (following Tot Shabbat) DAIRY POTLUCK DINNER
SUKKOT CELEBRATION-Blessings led by Rabbi Darby & potluck dinner in and around KS’s sukkah (weather permitting- or we will dine indoors)
Bring a blanket to sit on if you wish! Chairs will be provided.
Details: Grapevine and KS e-mails!

SIMCHAT TORAH Celebration Friday, October 17, 7:15 PM.
Join us as we complete the cycle of reading the Torah and begin again.  We will unroll the Torah, creating a circle with it around the sanctuary. We’ll dance with our Torahs to the lively music of a Klezmer band! Bring friends and introduce them to Kerem Shalom at its liveliest!

KS’s 13th Annual Mitzvah DAY ONE
Sunday, October 26, 10:30 AM

Rabbi Tarfon taught, "The day is short and the task is great.
You are not obligated to finish the task, neither are you free to neglect it."

Plan to spend Sunday October 26th at Kerem Shalom, in a community effort to participate in the work of Tikkun Olam, healing the world.  Many of the projects provide opportunities to continue the work throughout the year.  Some activities have a limited number of participants so be sure to sign up early.  The projects are meant for either individual adults or for adults and families to do together.  A few activities are more appropriate for families with young children. You may be able to do more than one project.

Lunch, snacks and crafts/Judaica will be available for purchase; proceeds go to Open Table food pantry and other worthy organizations.  Some projects take place offsite. Plan to be here at 10:30 AM for the program induction and orientation. Look for details on projects, signing up and WHAT TO BRING in the October Grapevine.

“[We] were really proud to be part of Kerem Shalom on Mitzvah Day! It was a wonderful, energizing event and we wanted to share our thanks with everyone who worked so hard to make it a success. It means a great deal to us when [our daughter] is eager to take part in synagogue activities, and understands by doing and seeing why Judaism is an important part of our family.”

“Thank you for bringing to life the dream we all share for our congregation.”

We’re always looking for adults and families to join us in the work of strengthening our community through volunteerism, team support and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

Please see the Grapevine for updates and appeals for help from KS’s volunteer leaders . Go to, click on Social Action for more on how you can help KS in supporting communities in need. Join a “team”- invite a friend to come along – for learning or for work, and get to know your community better!  Get in touch with Nancy Kaplan, Family Educator, or Sally Edwards and JoAnn Simon, our VPs for Social Action, if you’d like to recruit support for your project on Mitzvah DAY ONE and beyond.

JoAnn Simon also leads our Community Support committee. Volunteers provide meals, rides and other support within our community.  We can always use more helpers with these mitzvot.

CHANUKAH DINNER and  Sing-along
Sunday, December 19, 6:00 PM.
Details in our November KS e-mails and Grapevine!


FAMILY Purim Celebration !
Sunday, March 8th at 10:30 a.m. For Families with children ages 0-10!
Come and enjoy a purimshpiel (Purim play) presented with a flourish by our 4th grade class. Drown out Haman’s name with noisy groggers and sing Purim songs with Nancy Kaplan.  Stay for the Purim carnival! including delicious hamentaschen.

Come in costume, one and all!

KABBALAT SHABBAT SERVICES AT CONCORD PARK ASSISTED LIVING - Fridays, 3:30 – 4:30 PM; dates TBA in the Grapevine, calendar and in “Next Week at KS” e-mails.
On Friday afternoons once a month join Nancy Kaplan and the residents of Concord Park for a short Shabbat service, followed by an oneg Shabbat.  A wonderful opportunity to meet some very wise elders, to enrich their lives and spirits, and to welcome Shabbat.
Chanukah Party at Concord Park – weekend afternoon date TBA in our December Grapevine.
Up to 10 volunteers needed to visit with the residents, sing Chanukah blessings & songs, serve latkes, play dreidel games.  Musicians are welcome to bring instruments to entertain residents.

For a full printable list please click here.