Welcome to Jewish Journeys, a new initiative designed to revolutionize Jewish education.
Imagine a program that ignites each child’s spirit, engaging them in activities they love while connecting them with Jewish life and learning. Imagine a community of children growing up together, absorbing the concepts, ideas, and traditions that are the building blocks of Jewish life. Imagine a program where kids don’t just learn about being Jewish—they sing it,dance it, bake it, paint it, film it, read it, play it. They—and your family—become part of a community that celebrates Jewish life together.
Jewish Journeys taps into New York’s creative and exciting environment to provide children with an immersive educational experience as richly textured as the city itself. Building on activities children enjoy—art, cooking, performance, games—and the resources of the JCC and its surroundings, Jewish Journeys leads children from the beginning of their Jewish journey to their bar or bat mitzvah—and keeps them engaged beyond that milestone. Tailored to young learners at each age of development, Jewish Journeys invites Jewish children and their families to discover what it means to be Jewish.
Havurah (3 years to 2nd Grade)
Once a week, young children gather at the JCC for Jewish activities in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Through yoga poses, holiday recipes, theatrical experiences, art-making, storytelling, and more, young children learn about the rhythm and meaning of Jewish life.
They taste, smell, touch, hear, and see what it means to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Within each age group, they grapple with big questions relating to Torah stories and practice the Jewish values that are still so important today. And they sing, not only because music has many benefits for young children, but also because it introduces Hebrew in an enjoyable way.
Families are partners in the work that we do, joining children and teachers to visit cultural institutions across NYC to learn about Jewish heritage; participating in community service projects, acts of chesed, and mitzvot; celebrating Jewish life and tradition; and helping children begin to build their unique Jewish identities.
Jewish Journey Project (Grades 3-5)
When they reach the 3rd grade, children move into JJP where they explore their interests while absorbing knowledge and skills. In everything they do, whether it’s preparing a snack or performing a skit, they are also learning about classic narratives of the Torah, connecting with the Jewish holiday cycle, forging a relationship with Israel, and delving into Jewish ethics and social justice.
Each semester, kids choose from a wide range of courses. There’s no minimum or maximum number required—we encourage them to take as many as they can fit into their schedules.
Midweek JJP courses are organized around themes that offers rich opportunities for creativity and exploration. These might include Torah Stories, Jewish Peoplehood, Israel, and Social Action/Caring for Others.
Monthly Saturday and Sunday Intensives allow kids to explore topics outside the semester’s theme. And special programs during school vacations in December and February give them another chance to spend time together doing fun activities in a Jewish setting.
Hebrew is taught through Hebrew Homepage (HHP), an online platform that pairs each learner with a personal tutor for a weekly 30-minute Hebrew reading session.
Advising parents and children is a core value of JJP. Each child and at least one parent meet with a staff member before the semester begins to discuss their objectives for Jewish education and choose courses that will meet their families’ goals.
B-Mitzvah: The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program
The B-Mitzvah Launch (Grade 6)
To prepare for becoming a bar or bat mitzvah, we offer an engaging yearlong program that is a natural next step for JJP participants.
Learners attend a two-hour weekly session and participate in several chesed projects. They can opt into monthly and school vacation intensives, and they can continue to learn Hebrew through Hebrew Homepage.
This new program deepens the friendships and sense of community they have developed over the years, while providing a more focused learning experience.
The B-Mitzvah Year (Grade 7)
The B-Mitzvah program ushers your child into young Jewish adulthood and lays the groundwork for continuing active participation in the Jewish community.
This year, JCC Manhattan presents brand-new options. You can join other Jewish Journey Project families in a beautiful and unique group ceremony, or have an individual celebration for your child with family and friends.
Whichever option you choose, your child will participate in a weekly two-hour class on leadership and advocacy, collaborate on a group advocacy project, and prepare an individual project in response to his or her Torah portion or a big Jewish question. They can also take other JJP courses and continue with Hebrew Homepage.
Parents share in the learning experience, joining their children four times during the year for family learning on Sunday afternoons.
Tiyul (Grade 8)
Eighth graders meet weekly throughout the fall to prepare for a four-day trip to the American South over Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend.
There, students will learn about the significant roles Jews played in the Civil War and civil rights eras. They’ll explore the history of southern Jewish communities, and confront the challenges they face today. And they’ll engage in a significant community service project to cap their Jewish Journeys experience.