Greetings Kitah Zayin Families,
The last days of summer are here and we hope it has a been a good season for you and your loved ones. We are reaching out today to share plans about this year’s Kitah Zayin program at Adat Shalom. Thank you for your patience as we sort out the schedule and programming for this very important year of learning and community building with your family! We are still in the process of putting the final schedule in place for your students; we can share the beginning of a calendar and some information about what you can expect for the months ahead.
Kitah Zayin will begin the year on September 8, 12 noon, with the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington and the 14th Annual Unity Walk. This an annual interfaith event, is a walking visit to several faith communities, and a fitting way to begin our Kitah Zayin program with its special focus on comparative religion. We will gather at Washington Hebrew Congregation on Macomb St, NW, at 12noon on Sunday, September 8. Your entire family is welcome to take part; we very much hope to have full participation from our students. Others from Adat Shalom will participate and we’ll help get carpools or other transportation options set up. More information about the walk can be found here.
Our “formal” classes will begin at Adat Shalom on Sunday, September 15 from 5:30-7:30 PM and will continue with that schedule until Thanksgiving. Each session will include dinner and the chance to explore 2 learning modules, a “main” and an elective, at each session. After introductory sessions about becoming b-mitzvah and comparative Judaism in the opening weeks, the first “main” unit will be an exploration of the Shoah. We’ve explicitly chosen to focus on this topic not only because of its importance in understanding history and current events, but also because we believe there is special value in our emerging teens’ learning this history within their own spiritual community. The schedule through the Thanksgiving holiday is attached to this email. These opening sessions will be led by Rabbi Rachel, Rabbi Fred and guest teachers.
On Sunday, October 20 at 7:00 PM, Kitah Zayin will have the special honor of “Chatan/Kalat Breisheet” – a class aliyah for the first new Torah reading of the year from the Book of Genesis. We’ll send more details; for now, please save the date.
After Thanksgiving, classes will be led by Adam Stonemeier, a veteran Adat Shalom teacher and an MCPS middle school science teacher, who worked with our Kitah Zayin teens last year and is excited to be back in this role. We are finalizing the dates for those sessions but they will primarily be Sunday mornings so that we can visit community organizations and houses of worship in the greater metro-area. We’ll work with you to make it as easy and organized as possible so that getting your kids to the activity is not a burden. We know that the switch from “everyone in the family is at Adat Shalom on Shabbat morning” to “now I’ve got to get them where and when” can be a challenge. And we know that this is a big year for our Kitah Zayin students and their families. At the same time, we believe that this year of learning is important to their growth and Jewish identity that we will do our part to make it work for you.
Finally, a word about participation in Kitah Zayin. We understand our kids’ and even parents’ impulse to diminish participation in this program as soon as the b-mitzvah celebration has passed. We ask you to join us in upholding the expectation that our 12 and 13 year olds continue through this year together. Not only is that expectation articulated clearly in our formal, congregational b-mitzvah guidelines, it is also one of the ways we stand behind our rhetoric about Jewish learning and spiritual growth, two important aspects of development which certainly don’t – and shouldn’t – end at age 13.
The first day of Torah School for grades K-6 is on Saturday, September 7. We’d love to welcome your 7th graders that morning, even if they don’t have to wake up for Torah School! We’ll be having an all-school t’filah (formerly minyan) beginning at 9:30 in the triple-classroom and would welcome their participation and involvement. They are great role models for our younger children. At 11:45, we’ll gather for a picnic and first day of school celebration on the side lawn. Your tweens are most welcome to help at our activity stations. Please reach out to me if they are interested.
Thank you for being on this journey with us. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Rabbi Rachel.