The Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation (EHC) provides a range of educational activities for children of members of the congregation and the wider community.
For 0-5 years there is a parent toddler group meeting on Sunday mornings for some shared themed activities followed by a snack and free play.
Primary school to Bar/batmitzvah – for members of the EHC
From Primary 1 to Bar/Batmitzvah the EHC provides a Hebrew school or “cheder”, meeting in the purpose-built classrooms of the synagogue. Children learn to read and write Hebrew, as well as learning about Jewish customs, festivals and practice, in an experiential and meaningful way. As the children progress through the Cheder they learn about their Jewish heritage and make contact with other members of the community to learn about their background and life.
They are taught by teachers and parents as well as by supervised teenagers who have passed successfully through the Jewish education system. It is very much, then, a Hebrew School run for and by the community. The Cheder syllabus is created by the Rabbi and uses the Reading scheme devised by The United Synagogue (hyperlink to https://www.tribeuk.com/article/aleph-champ).
In addition to the regular reading scheme we also have a Hebrew programme for native speakers focusing on vocabulary expansion and reading comprehension, alongside oral practice.
Shabbat Family services are conducted by students, teachers and also by the students of the Cheder, who are able to put into practice what they have learned in class.
The Cheder year is rounded off with a prize giving, where each class demonstrates in a variety of ways the topics they have learned during the year.
The Rabbi also conducts Bar mitzvah and Bat mitzvah classes for children in addition to their normal Hebrew School attendance.
Post Bar and Batmitzvah students have the opportunity to become student teachers under the supervision of the regular teachers
Community education for Primary school children.
A less formal structure (Chevruta) is offered to the wider community on a Sunday. Starting with lunch and followed by practical activities the children come together to learn about festivals and traditions through the medium of arts and crafts.
Throughout the year the EHC organises “Festival” events for all the children and Toddler group to allow all the children to celebrate the festivals together in a fun way. On Sukkot, the children participate in decorating the Succah. At Chanukah, children light the candles and sing Chanukah songs in the Synagogue. Afterwards a party is held in the Communal Hall with doughnuts and latkes for everyone, and entertainment for the children. Tu B'Shevat is celebrated with a Seder and environmental themed activities. Purim is celebrated with vigour, with art and craft activities and a fancy dress parade and Pesach sees the traditional model seder and matzah making.
In recent years the children and parents have participated in Mitzvah Day activities, learning about foodbanks, local refugee projects and community responsibility. The families also organise and take part in making deliveries of gifts on Rosh Hoshonah and Purim to the elderly and infirm in the community.
Community Education for Teenagers
Teenagers are able to attend a regular organized learning group held on a Sunday morning. The EHC also provides a less formal teenage social group on a Sunday afternoon. All teenage activities are open to the wider community.
The younger members of the Cheder produce a newssheet for the major festivals. You may view their work by clicking the files, which are saved in PDF format.