At Rodeph Shalom, instead of having a Religious School, we have what's called Mercaz Limud (which translates literally as "Learning Center"). The program revolves around nine Learning Centers (Mercazei Limud) where our students live out what it means to be Jewish:
Social Action (G'milut Chasadim)
Jewish Home (HaBayit)
We take the best of what we all love about being Jewish and give our kids opportunities to engage in those activities. So they become Jewish cooks and home builders, Israel tourists, debaters and discussers of hot issues, confident and spiritual worshippers, social justice activists, and individuals rooted in a knowledge and connection to Torah. We will do this in a creative and open environment, forming a community that fosters a sense of security and friendship.
Our students actually look forward to attending on Sunday mornings, and we hear that they complain to their parents when they have to be away. Mercaz Limud is all about having fun while being Jewish. Through quality relationships with friends, teachers and older students, and through real Jewish experiences our students learn more than they ever could in "religious school."
Because our student population comes from the entire Delaware Valley region, the focus of our learning program must be on Sunday Mornings. The program meets from 9:30 AM -12:30 PM. We also have an optional midweek Hebrew program that offers further enrichment in our Mitkadem Hebrew Program and a B'nai-Mitzvah Prep Class, Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 PM. Contact the Education Office (215-627-6747 x22) for more details.
Camp Harlam Retreat
Our fall retreat for families with Kindergarten - 3rd grade and our weekend winter retreat for students in grades 4-7 at URJ’s Camp Harlam in the Poconos will bring together students and families to celebrate Shabbat in a camp setting. Through singing, prayer, great sledding, and informal learning, our students build friendships while having fun.
Judaism is an expression of our deepest values, highest aspirations, greatest joys and most difficult sorrows. Different forms of art help us to communicate all of those ideas and emotions. We have a dedicated art specialist, and Cantor Erin Frankel serves as our music specialist. We also engage in drama, cooking, poetry, photography, computer design, and many other forms of art that help us find our own meaning in Judaism.
This past year, Rodeph Shalom has unveiled its new synagogue vision, centered around, “Creating Profound Connections.” The changes to the Mercaz Limud curriculum seek to align the religious school’s aims with those of the synagogue at large. Particularly, the direction of Mercaz Limud is now better directed to speak to specific elements of the vision and mission statement, including, “engaging in the lifelong study of Torah, adding our voices to the generations of interpretation;” and “cultivating a commitment to Jewish life and Jewish identity in the next generation.” In the upcoming year, Mercaz Limud will be forming its own specific vision as an extension of the synagogue’s. Click here for a glimpse of the New and Improved Mercaz Limud!
PARENT PARTICIPATION AND PROGRAMMING
THE COMPLETE LEARNING ENVIORNMENT AND THE PARENT ROLE
We acknowledge that Mercaz Limud is only part of the Jewish education of a young person. The family provides the critical link to the success of our mission. We expect and hope that parents will provide loving, nurturing and enthusiastic Jewish homes, filled with Jewish experiences, observances, celebrations, ritual objects, discussions and books. Mercaz Limud program provides multiple opportunities for the entire family to deepen its understanding and connection to Jewish heritage, tradition and creativity. Parents are invited to attend services on Sundays in the Sanctuary and to participate in Adult Education courses.
TEN MINUTES OF TORAH
Held almost every week from 10:05-10:15am in Rabbi Fuchs’s Office, Ten Minutes of Torah gives parents a chance to learn with one of the rabbis and to discuss a topic from that trimester’s curriculum. This 10 minute discussion/lesson is a chance for parents to ask questions and expand their Jewish knowledge base. We believe that this is a great way to give parents a leg up on the car ride home. Hopefully we will provide a preview of the ideal answer to the question, “What are you learning at Mercaz Limud?” We will also be recommending short reading assignments for parents to keep up with their students’ learning.
RS offers a full array of adult level learning on Sunday mornings. Some classes are general and at the most introductory level, while others are more specific and go deeper into a subject.
Each class will have two Family Education Programs during the year on Sunday morning. We ask that at least one parent or significant adult from each family attend Mercaz Limud on that day. The program will introduce families to the topics their children are currently studying. Families will have an opportunity to study together with the teacher and a rabbi. We hope that through these programs, parents will become familiar with the teachers and the curriculum, and will also get to know each other and feel comfortable together. Parents are invited to attend services, Sundays in the Sanctuary and adult education, and then to join their children from 11:15am-12:15pm in learning together as a family about a chosen topic, hand selected by our rabbis.
THE ADULT LOUNGE
If you want a chance to relax, please join the community in the second floor parent lounge where you can form community through that age old Jewish tradition of schmoozing and noshing on some bagels. Wireless internet service is also available in the lounge. During warm days, parents are invited to join in with other parents and shoot hoops outside in the parking lot.