Education at Temple Micah has always been a community affair. For the congregation’s first three-plus decades, parents and other adult members taught religious school. As the congregation and the school grew, professionals replaced most of the volunteers. But, with the coming of Machon Micah in 2009, families are again intimately involved in their children’s Jewish learning. And the Machon tries to engage community members of all ages in educational activities. A once-a-month speaker series is tailored to the interest of all adults and All-Community specials preparing for holidays and festivals have activities of interest to every age as well as those that attract inter-generational participation. Here former students, teachers, and parents reminisce about earlier times in the religious school and the development of the Machon. (For a fuller history of religious education at Micah, see introduction to Education History and Evolution.)
Alexandra Zapruder shares her student memories
For me, I don’t remember the content as much as the feeling of the place… We had a lot of fun…We kids knew this temple was different from other temples.
Zapruder on teaching and being a Machon Micah mom
The methods may be different, but what we’re trying to do today is not so different from what we were trying to do when I was a kid. We want the Machon to feel like home, to be joyful, and to help develop a Jewish identity…It may sometimes be a struggle to get my kids in the car to come to Machon Micah, but they always leave happy…Micah is an original…There’s an experimental quality here that is really welcome.
Cecelia Weinheimer talks about changes in the religious school
Parents were expected to participate as teachers or administrative aides or special event planners. Everyone had a job. The only paid teachers were the Hebrew teachers.
Weinheimer on Machon Micah
Machon Micah was created to develop Jewish education in Jewish time for all of us…We expect ourselves to be lifelong learners…My mission as a teacher was and is to make learning fun but remind students it’s serious fun.
Jan Greenberg, pre-K teacher, on her approach
I taught the first pre-K class two Saturday mornings a month…My second year class had six boys (including Rabbi Zemel’s sob,Adam Zemel) and two girls. There was no formal curriculum. I came in with a philosophy that the experience should be meaningful and developmentally appropriate, and should offer an opportunity for kids to express themselves creatively within a Jewish context. And it jibed with Micah’s philosophy of Judaism being a lived experience.