...to Shir Tikvah's Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination
You are invited to Shir Tikvah’s Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination!
The Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination is our premiere learning community for young people of all ages, and their parents/guardians. It comes with a motivating new vision and a program design that responds to the unique interests of all students. It is a moving-on from "Religious School" and a look towards what a 21st Century Shir Tikvah family wants of and needs from their synagogue. It is a laboratory that explores questions like, How do I become more resilient? What does it take to have a brave heart? Where do I express my love in the world? Am I an agent of moral change? The Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination is an ever-evolving project, one a long time in the making. In partnership with students, parents/guardians, teaching faculty, and staff, we will explore what it means to live as Jews in the world today. We invite and look forward to your help in co-creating our community this year and in the future. It promises to be a meaningful, joyous experience unlike anything we have yet encountered together.



What happened to Religious School?
Learning about our tradition, engaging in justice work, connecting with peers and making friends… the Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination holds onto the things that matter to you and your family, and brings them to life in more meaningful and joyous ways. And, Religious School is no longer our way to accomplish those things. “Religious School” is an outdated concept. Read Rabbi Latz’ sermon from September 2019 about the need to rethink education beyond the Religious School model. This shift is an outgrowth of the visioning work led by staff and congregants over the last two years.

How will we be gathering in 2020-21?
Shir Tikvah continues to prioritize the health and wellness of our community members. Until there is a notable difference in the spread of COVID-19 and a vaccine, we will primarily engage online. Classes will meet over Zoom and, potentially, in small groups in person as appropriate.

What will my child’s class look like this year? When will their class meet? 
This year, students will gather in eidot (cohorts or units), groups of one or two other grades that are taught by multiple faculty members. Blending grades provides students a chance to get to know more of their peers and moves us past the unnecessary dividers of grade-levels. Multiple faculty members means your child will still be cared for and known in the personal ways they are used to at Shir Tikvah. Eidot will not meet on Sunday mornings, but on days and at times that are more accessible based on student age and energy. Join us for our Town Hall gatherings (week of August 16 - more info to come) to learn more about your child’s specific experience and schedule.

What should parents/guardians expect to attend?
The Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination is for your whole family! We feel strongly that intergenerational learning - time for young people and their parents/guardians to be together - is crucial in the pursuit of our Vision. In addition to students participating in their classes, families will be welcomed to one shabbat evening service and one shabbat morning service per month. These shabbat gatherings will give families the opportunity to stay connected with one another, on Jewish time, over our blessings and rituals. We will also be offering sessions on relevant parenting subjects throughout the year.

Why change things when everything is so different and up in the air right now?
That is precisely why we are changing! If this time - these last months of quarantine, the murder of George Floyd - has taught us anything, it is what really matters. As our new Vision states, “Judaism is a human dignity project.” Consider all that we have learned about ourselves and how we relate to one another in this time of Coronavirus, in this uprising from the Black Lives Matter movement. Now consider an academy that raises young people to tend to the life of their souls, to nurture communities of belonging and wholeness, and to grow skills to repair the world. This is the community we strive to be, and why we could not wait any longer to move forward with change.

How do I register my child?
Registration goes live on Monday, August 10. It is open until Monday, September 7, with late fees kicking on Monday, September 1. All Shir Tikvah emails from now until then will include information about registration. Visit us online to register.

When will things start up?
Our High Holy Days season begins on Friday, August 21. The Academy for Jewish Moral Imagination will officially open after the High Holy Days, in mid-October. More information coming soon.

How will we celebrate the High Holy Days season this year?
High Holy Days brochures are in the mail. Please let Sara know if you do not receive one by Monday, August 17. We are excited to be with you on your High Holy Days journey by offering home-based resources, online services, safe in-person gatherings, and small-group connections.

I have more questions. How should I ask them?
Please join us for our Town Hall gatherings (more info to come) to learn more about your child’s specific experience and schedule. In addition, please feel free to email Forrest to set up a time to connect. Also: bookmark our website and return to it often for updates.

See you Monday!

Shabbat shalom,