5 Real-life Skills Your Child Will Learn in Hebrew School

JCP’s Hebrew School Project activates a child’s love to draw, sing, play, pretend, imagine, create, problem solve, and share while learning about Judaism and developing their own sense of Jewish identity. We also instill in them valuable life skills that will help them become better, more well-rounded adults:

Act and Listen

Judaism is an epic story that has been handed down from one generation to the next. In order for an ancient story to become relevant and meaningful, it needs to come alive and be experienced. Storytelling will be an integral part of the HSP experience this year, with our learners taking active part in telling and retelling the core narratives of the Jewish people. Not only can stories be told by learning drama and improv comedy techniques, but through film, memes, presentations and social media as well. Stories created for and by our learners will translate ancient texts to modern methods of communication.

Sing & Dance

Music has not only been proven to enhance learning across disciplines, but also builds a strong sense of community and connection. Participating in Jewish prayer is an exciting and energetic way to prepare our learners for real life in the Jewish world. While you might think it’s just one of those things they’ll need to know if they would like to have a bar/bat mitzvah, Jewish prayer can be so much more than that. Our learners will be able to keep up with the beat of Jewish prayer services at JCP, but will feel empowered to sing out wherever their Jewish journeys take them. Dancing after a long day keeps our learners’ bodies healthy and engaged, as kinesthetic learning has also been proven to improve focus and executive function.



Secular trends in progressive education have begun to move away from standardized, Industrial-era models of education and Jewish education should too! STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) programming, through its emphasis on creativity, curiosity and ingenuity, has the potential to transform the way we think about holiday customs, Torah texts, the Hebrew language and more. Whether designing Sukkot – a traditional holiday structure – to withstand a certain amount of wind or rain or engineering candle-lighting robots for Hanukkah, this educational approach must be included in any Hebrew School that considers itself a part of this generation.


Eating Jewishly is a deeply social, cultural, religious and always enjoyable activity. Our learners will investigate the roots of symbolic Jewish food, prepare and taste cuisines from diverse Jewish communities and take their study of traditional dietary laws on the road to see how eating Jewishly is alive in their neighborhood and how healthy, organic and sustainable eating have authentic roots in Jewish environmentalism.



Why does Jewish tradition place so much emphasis on question-asking, interpretation and debate? Why do YOU think? Debate is a core value in Jewish texts, recognizing the holiness that is sparked by impassioned arguments on both sides. Well-facilitated debate enhances critical thinking and communication skills, while fostering an atmosphere of open mindedness, and a sense of community and respect.


JCP’s Hebrew School Project kicks off another amazing year on September 11 and 12. Limited spaces are still available – contact Erin Beser to register at ebeser@jcpdowntown.org or call 212-334-3522.

Erin Beser is director of JCP’s Hebrew School Project.