If you have seen my previous post , I have basically yet to find my spiritual home but want to still be connected with Judaism.
So I will summarize the experiences my son has had with Hebrew Schools. I also have never went to hebrew school or learned hebrew so I’m trying to give my son a different experience.
He started out at a local conservative synagogue but it was basically a dying synagogue and then covid happened. He was 5 years old.
Eventually the local conservative synagogue only offered online hebrew school and my son was not good with online classes so I looked elsewhere and signed him up to a local Chabad. He would attend once a week on Sundays for 2.5 hours. But after 2 years of being there I felt that he wasn’t learning much, especially with Hebrew. It turned out they basically worked in a class with a lack of individualized attention and only when a child had a question, the teacher would help. But that logically doesn’t make sense because how would a child know if they needed help? In addition for any child to gain a substantial knowledge with Hebrew they would need to work on it and it seemed like too much time was wasted on various activities and arts and crafts. I guess they were trying to make it fun, but I think Hebrew is an important element to be able to get into synagogue life.
Anyway I got too annoyed by the lack of progress and switched him to a different Chabad that offered more smaller group instruction when it came to Hebrew. The problem that I still have is that it seems like they too don’t spend enough time on Hebrew and they also don’t assign any homework or anything. And some of the days are not treated as regular classes but various holiday fun days , which I get is important because Judaism should be enjoyable but it seems like it’s just not possible to get any substantial learning done with Hebrew in order to be able to eventually follow along with prayers.
Is Chabad trying too much with Judaism being fun and not caring that much if the children know hebrew? Reading this article got me thinking if Chabad is treating the children as if they come from non-observant families and just doing the minimum needed on the academic end and focusing more on the joyful parts of Judaism to keep the kids interested.
But what good does that do if I want my child to actually be observant and follow along with the prayers, something which I have never been able to do? I’m at a loss and wondering if I wasted more of his valuable young years. I recently learned about a thriving conservative synagogue that has over 230 students in Hebrew School and wondering if I should’ve sent him over there.
If you went to hebrew school, how was your experience? How much did you learn? How much Hebrew did you learn? Did you get homework? Since I have never gone to hebrew school I have nothing to compare it to.