The Jewish Chronicle - - Community -

IN AN ef­fort to buck the trend of fall­ing cheder at­ten­dance, Finch­ley Re­form Syn­a­gogue is re­plac­ing its re­li­gion school with a new learn­ing pro­gramme, Kochavim.

Launched next week, the pro­gramme is in­tended to of­fer “a cut­ting edge ex­pe­ri­en­tial style of ed­u­ca­tion”. Pupils will choose from a range of mod­ules re­lat­ing to Jewish life — and once a month will be joined by par­ents in their ac­tiv­i­ties.

Mod­ules in­clude a Jewish book club, so­cial action projects, learn­ing through prayer and singing and a vir­tual Is­rael scheme, an amal­gam of his­tory, ge­og­ra­phy and IT skills. Jewish cook­ing, arts and crafts and dance are among other Kochavim top­ics.

He­brew will re­main an in­te­gral ele- ment, with mod­ules such as “Light­ning Learn­ing” — im­part­ing knowl­edge in short sharp bursts — or ses­sions tai­lored to those with an Ivrit speaker at home.

“FRS has ac­knowl­edged that the old style of cheder was no longer work­ing,” said the shul’s ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor Debbie Jug­gler. “It didn’t guar­an­tee the fu­ture in­volve­ment of fam­i­lies in the com­mu­nity. We don’t want kids sim­ply dis­ap­pear­ing af­ter bar-and bat­mitz­vah, so this is partly an at­tempt to build closer con­nec­tions with com­mu­nal life. We want to make fam­i­lies aware that Ju­daism is not an ex­pe­ri­ence just for Sun­day morn­ing — it’s a life ex­pe­ri­ence. They will be learn­ing skills and gain­ing knowl­edge that can be utilised to lead a rich Jewish life.”

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