The Liberal Synagogue Elstree
Our Religion School meets on Sunday mornings from 10.00am to 12.30pm for children between 6 and 13. Our Principal, Rabbi Pete Tobias, welcomes comments regarding the Religion School and is normally available on Sunday mornings during term time, or you may contact him via email. We celebrate both Bar- and Bat-Mitzvah at 13 and families are encouraged to support their children's further study to Kabbalat Torah at 15. You can find out more about Bar- and Bat Mitzvah here.
Parents are expected to share in a security rota and the Friends of the Religion School support the school and raise funds for special activities.
Education is the cornerstone of any Jewish community. Education gives a community the basis upon which to make its decisions and guarantees its future. This is particularly important in a Liberal synagogue. One of the principles of Liberal Judaism is that of informed choice. This means that we make our decisions about our attitude towards and our practice of Judaism based not only on knowledge of Jewish history and tradition but also by applying the wisdom and understanding of our own time to that history and tradition.
This questioning, challenging approach to Judaism places a double responsibility on the educational process which takes place at The Liberal Synagogue Elstree: not only must a knowledge of Judaism be imparted but a critical approach to it must be cultivated. Moreover, this critical approach must be born out of love for Judaism with a view to shaping it and making it relevant to members of the community (young or otherwise); being critical for its own sake is simply not enough.
This is the aim of the education programme at The Liberal Synagogue Elstree. Whether it be in the reception class in the Religion School, the fortnightly bar-/bat-mitzvah class or an adult education session, the aim is the same. To foster an awareness and an appreciation of the ancient ideas of Judaism and to create an atmosphere which allows for some of those ancient ideas to be challenged. Although it could be argued that this is a process which takes place at any synagogue event (a service, a seder, even a fundraising social event) the main focus for this process as far as the younger generation is concerned is our Religion School.